How to make sure your
students learn
what you want them to
Claus Brabrand
((( [email protected] )))
Associate
Professor
VISITING Professor
((( Programming,
Logic, and
Semantics
)))
Software Productivity
Group
(SPG) )))
IT
University
Copenhagen
Univ.
Fed. de of
Pernambuco
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
Aug 03, 2010
An Introduction to the
Theory & Framework of
Constructive Alignment
Claus Brabrand
((( [email protected] )))
VISITING Professor
((( Software Productivity Group (SPG) )))
Univ. Fed. de Pernambuco
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
Aug 03, 2010
T
Exercise:
"What is good teaching?"
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[3]
Aug 03, 2010
Outline (Aug 03, 2010)

1) Introduction
Constructive Alignment
 The SOLO Taxonomy


2) From Content to Competence
Advocate a shift in perspective
 Elaborate on The SOLO Taxonomy


3) In Practice
Concrete recommendations
 Alignment implementation process

Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[4]
Aug 03, 2010
Introduction to…

Constructive Alignment & SOLO Taxonomy:
John Biggs’ popular and heavily cited book:
“Teaching for Quality Learning
at University
- What the student does”
Note: 3rd Edition now available [J.Biggs & C.Tang, 2007]
“Teaching Teaching
&
Understanding Understanding”
19 min award-winning short-film on Constructive Alignment
(available on DVD in 7 languages, epilogue by John Biggs)
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[5]
Aug 03, 2010
T
Neighbour Discussion:
"What are the film's
main messages
(in your opinion)"?
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[6]
Aug 03, 2010
Outline (Aug 03, 2010)

1) Introduction
Constructive Alignment
 The SOLO Taxonomy


2) From Content to Competence
Advocate a shift in perspective
 Elaborate on The SOLO Taxonomy


3) In Practice
Concrete recommendations
 Alignment implementation process

Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[7]
Aug 03, 2010
From Content to Competence

My old course descriptions (Concurrency 2004):

Given in terms of a 'content description'.

Essentially:
Goal is…:
To understand:
deadlock
interference
synchronization
...
This is a bad idea
for two reasons...!
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[8]
Aug 03, 2010
Problem 1 !

Problem with 'content' as goals !
analyze ...
theorize ...
analyze systems
explain causes
define deadlock
describe solutions
Goal is…:
Stud. C
To understand:
Teacher
deadlock
interference
synchronization
...
analyze systems
explain causes
name solutions
recite conditons
Stud. B

Stud. A
Censor
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[9]
Aug 03, 2010
Problem 2 !

Problem with 'understanding' as goals !
Goal is…:
To understand:
deadlock
interference
synchronization
...
'concept of deadlock' ?!
The answer is simple:
It cannot be measured !
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

[ 10 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Competence !

'Competence' as goals !

Competence := knowledge
+ capacity to act upon it
Have the student do something;
and then observe (evaluate) the product and/or process
Objective !
To learn how to:
analyze systems for...
explain cause/effects...
prove properties of...
compare methods of...
...

Note: 'understanding'
is of course
pre-requisitional !
Note': inherently operational (~ verbs)
'SOLO' = Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 11 ]
Aug 03, 2010
T
Neighbour Discussion
"How does this
content vs. competence
relate to YOUR courses?"
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 12 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Note: the list is non-exhaustive
Graphic Legend
SOLO (elaborated)
QUANTITATIVE
SOLO 2
SOLO 3
”uni-structural”
“multi-structural”
define
identify
count
name
recite
paraphrase
follow (simple)
instructions
…
combine
structure
describe
classify
enumerate
list
do algorithm
apply method
…
SOLO 4
“relational”
problem / question / cue
known related issue - given!
hypothetical related issue - not given!
R student response
Q
QUALITATIVE
SOLO 5
“extended abstract”
analyze
compare
contrast
integrate
relate
explain causes
apply theory
(to its domain)
…
theorize
generalize
hypothesize
predict
judge
reflect
transfer theory
(to new domain)
…
R
Q
Claus Brabrand
R
Q
R
Q
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
R
Q
[ 13 ]
R'
Aug 03, 2010
SOLO verbs
Mapped by:
 B. Dahl & C. Brabrand
(Natural science context!)
With help from:
 3 Educational research
colleagues (medicine)
 J. Biggs & C. Tang
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 14 ]
Aug 03, 2010
SOLO Advantages

Advantages of The SOLO Taxonomy:
Linear hierarchical structure (good for progression)
 Aimed at evaluating student learning
 Converges on research (at SOLO 5)

Research:
Production of
new knowledge
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 15 ]
Aug 03, 2010
T
Exercise
"Key competences
in YOUR course?"
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 16 ]
Aug 03, 2010
10' Break
Please put the Post-Its on the wall
"What is good teaching?"
Claus Brabrand
Key competences
(in your course)
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
Aug 03, 2010
Outline (Aug 03, 2010)

1) Introduction
Constructive Alignment
 The SOLO Taxonomy


2) From Content to Competence
Advocate a shift in perspective
 Elaborate on The SOLO Taxonomy


3) In Practice
Concrete recommendations
 Alignment implementation process

Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 18 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Concrete Recommendations
Intended Learning Outcomes
[Genetics 101]
After the course, the students are expected to be able to:
locate V genes N on chromosomes
do V simple calculations N: (e.g., recombination frequencies,
in-breeding coefficients, Hardy-Weinberg,
evolutionary equilibria).
describe V and perform V connexion-analysis N
describe V fundamental genetic concepts: (e.g., mutation
variation, in-breeding, natural selection).
describe V and analyze V simple inheritancies N
analyze V inheritance N of multiple genes simultaneously
V
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
N
[ 19 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Implementation Process
1) Think carefully about:
overall goal of course
(what students learn to do?)
2) Operationalize these goals
and formulate them as SOLO
intended learning outcomes
alignment
learning incentive
3) Choose carefully the
form(s) of assessment
(~ intended learning outcomes)
Claus Brabrand
learning support
4) Choose carefully the
form(s) of teaching
Think of teaching
(~ intended learning outcomes)
activities as
”training for exam”
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 20 ]
Aug 03, 2010
My Starting Point

Content description (Concurrency '04+'05):
What is the overall goal of the course...?
(i.e., what are the students to learn to do?)
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 21 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Overall Course Philosophy

Model-Based Design for Concurrency:
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 22 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Implementation Process
1) Think carefully about:
overall goal of course
(what students learn to do?)
2) Operationalize these goals
and formulate them as SOLO
intended learning outcomes
alignment
learning incentive
3) Choose carefully the
form(s) of assessment
(~ intended learning outcomes)
Claus Brabrand
learning support
4) Choose carefully the
form(s) of teaching
Think of teaching
(~ intended learning outcomes)
activities as
”training for exam”
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 23 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Intended Learning Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes
(based on The SOLO Taxonomy):
Note:
explicitly
included 
as a non-goal
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 24 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Implementation Process
1) Think carefully about:
overall goal of course
(what students learn to do?)
2) Operationalize these goals
and formulate them as SOLO
intended learning outcomes
alignment
learning incentive
3) Choose carefully the
form(s) of assessment
(~ intended learning outcomes)
Claus Brabrand
learning support
4) Choose carefully the
form(s) of teaching
Think of teaching
(~ intended learning outcomes)
activities as
”training for exam”
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 25 ]
Aug 03, 2010
MC-test (pre- vs. post-alignment)

2004 Multiple-Choice assessment:


with a bunch of seemingly reasonable questions:
2006 Assessment (~ ILO's):

Project (carefully assessing 'synthesis'):


Multiple-Choice test (carefully assessing 'analysis'):

Claus Brabrand
construct, apply, relate, implement, ...
analyze and compare
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 26 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Implementation Process
1) Think carefully about:
overall goal of course
(what students learn to do?)
2) Operationalize these goals
and formulate them as SOLO
intended learning outcomes
alignment
learning incentive
3) Choose carefully the
form(s) of assessment
(~ intended learning outcomes)
Claus Brabrand
learning support
4) Choose carefully the
form(s) of teaching
Think of teaching
(~ intended learning outcomes)
activities as
”training for exam”
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 27 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Teaching/Learning Activities
functional knowledge
(problem oriented)
Project work
Case teaching
teacher centric
student centric
Exercise class
Lecture
Claus Brabrand
declarative knowledge
(discipline oriented)
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 28 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Lecture

Teacher activity:








[ Biggs & Tang 2007, p.137 ]
(about Application)
Claus Brabrand
vs.
Student activity:

Introduce
Explain
Elaborate
Discuss application
Give examples
Show PPT slides
Questions on slides
Winding up








Listen
Listen (maybe take notes)
Understand? (correctly? deeply?)
Listen (maybe take notes)
Listen (maybe take notes)
Watch (maybe note points)
Write answers to questions
Possibly ask a question
active
teacher
vs.
passive
student
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 29 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Learn about vs. Learn to do

Learning (about):









about application
about cooking
about programming
about designing
about analysis
about construction
about relating
...
Learning (to do):








to apply
to cook
to program
to design
to analyse
to construct
to relate
...
student
listening
(to something
about something)
vs.
student
doing !!
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 30 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Student Activation
"The (in-famous) Learning Pyramid":
Average
retention rate
passive
student
active
student
Doing:
Learning to do
Listening:
Learning about
Lecture
5%
Reading
10%
Audiovisual
20%
Demonstration
30%
Discussion group
50%
Practice by doing
75%
Teaching others
80%
[ NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science, Bethel, Maine ]
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 31 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Constructive Alignment
 Make explicit ILO's

Assessment =
ILO's =
(
Intended
Learning
Outcomes
)
Teaching
Learning
Activities
 (…and tell this to students)
vs.
SUSAN:
intrinsically motivated
Claus Brabrand
ROBERT:
extrinsically motivated
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 32 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Questions...
The Film
?
recite
generalize
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 33 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Now, please: "2-minute recap"

T
Please spend 2' on thinking about and writing down
the most important points from the talk – now!:
Immediately
After 1 day
After 1 week
After 2 weeks
After 3 weeks
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 34 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Key References




”Teaching for Quality Learning at University”
John Biggs & Catherine Tang
Society for Research into Higher Education, 2007. McGraw-Hill.
”Evaluating the Quality of Learning: The SOLO Taxonomy”
John Biggs & Kevin F. Collis
London: Academic Press, 1982
”Teaching Teaching & Understanding Understanding”
Claus Brabrand & Jacob Andersen
19 minute award-winning short-film (DVD)
Aarhus University Press, Aarhus University, 2006
"Constructive Alignment & The SOLO Taxonomy:
a Comparative Study of University Competencies
in Computer Science vs. Mathematics"
Claus Brabrand & Bettina Dahl
CRPIT, Vol. 88, ACS 3-17, R. Lister & Simon, Eds., 2007
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 35 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Obrigado !
Film's homepage:
((( http://www.daimi.au.dk/~brabrand/short-film/ )))
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
Aug 03, 2010
Tips'n'Tricks (activation)

Neighbour discussions:

Post-It exercise:
 focus: zoom in
 anonymous (!)
 swap'able
 everyone will engage
 empathetic control
 shared knowledge pool
 more questions
(students dare
ask them)
 better questions
(students had a
chance to discuss)
[Phil Race]
1-2 min timeout
Form variation:

lecturing blended with in-class activation exercises
Claus Brabrand
Frequent breaks:
pulse reader measurements:

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 37 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Tips'n'Tricks (cont'd)

Use many examples:

Explicit structure:
(build on student pre-knowledge)
 self evident to you [ teacher ]
 not to a learner
[ student ]
(esp. during learning process)

"Less-is-more":
 analyze
 compare
 relate
vs.

Student 'recap' at end:
common deadlock, uncommon
deadlock, A-synchronization, Bsynchronization, hand-shake,
multi-party synchronization,
multi-party hand-shake, binary
semaphores, generalized
semaphores, blocking
semaphores, recursive locks, ...
now
after 1 day
after 1 week
after 2 weeks
after 3 weeks
Emphasize depth over breadth (coverage)
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 38 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Problematic Courses

E.g. course: ”Databases” (at RUC/Roskilde):
 obtain knowledge about the structure of database systems;
 be familiar with design of databases by use of special notations like
E/R and analysis through normalization;
 get an overview of the most important database models and a
detailed knowledge about the most important model - the relational
model as well as the language SQL;
 get an overview of database indexing and query processing;
 obtain knowledge about application programming for DB systems.

Note: almost entirely
non-operational(!)

i.e. measure how?!
Familiar with ?!
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 39 ]
Aug 03, 2010
UNALIGNED COURSE
Teacher’s
intention

e.g.
- explain
- relate
- prove
- apply
Student’s
activity
"Dealing with the test"
Exam’s
assessment
e.g.
- memorize
- describe
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 40 ]
Aug 03, 2010
ALIGNED COURSE

Teacher’s
intention
e.g.
- explain
- relate
- prove
- apply
Student’s
activity
Exam’s
assessment
e.g.
- explain
- relate
- prove
- apply
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 41 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Student Motivation
 Susan: (”intrinsic motivation”)
- wants to…: learn !
 Robert: (”extrinsic motivation”)
- to…: pass exams !
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 42 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Constructivism
 ”Transmission is Dead…” :
!
active
teacher
&
(lectures risk
= passive students )
 Knowledge is…
Actively Constructed !
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 43 ]
Aug 03, 2010
SOLO Taxonomy
 Hierarchy for Competences:
5:
4:
3:
2:
generalize, theorize, predict, …
explain, analyze, compare, …
describe, combine, classify, …
recite, identify, calculate, …
 Deep learning (not surface) !
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 44 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Stud Learning Focus
 Focus on Student Learning !
(instead of ”what teacher does”
& labelling students: ’good/bad’)
 Student activitation  learning
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 45 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Alignment
 Make explicit ILO’s
(Intended Learning Outcomes):
 Exam = ILO’s = Teaching
 (…and tell this to students)
Claus Brabrand
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 46 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Teaching/Learning Activities
problem-oriented
Project work
Case teaching
teacher-centric
student-centric
Lecture
Claus Brabrand
Exercise class
discipline-oriented
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 47 ]
[kilde: TorbenAug
K. Jensen]
03, 2010
Acquisition of Competence

Acquisition of competence progresses
according to the following stages of learning:
1) Unconscious incompetence
 2) Conscious incompetence
 3) Conscious competence
 4) Unconscious competence


Claus Brabrand
5) Capacity for moving consciously
between stages 3) and 4):
(which is required by a teacher)
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 48 ]
Aug 03, 2010
On the Role of Examination

Alignment:
A systemic theory (a teaching system w/ cause/effects)
 A theory of planning (over the course of a course)
 A theory of motivation (and incentive)

"The exam does not come after, but before the course!"

From the exam as a...:
"Necessary evil"
application
of alignment
...to:
Claus Brabrand
Motivational and learning-guiding
pedagogical tool for the teacher(!)
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 49 ]
Aug 03, 2010
Definition: “Good Teaching”

Definition:
”Good teaching is getting most students to use the higher cognitive level
processes that the more academic students use spontaneously”
-- “Teaching for Quality Learning at University”, John Biggs, 2003

Good news:

We now know how to do this:





Claus Brabrand
Alignment!!!
Explicitly defined course objectives (as verbs)!
Discourage surface-learning!
Encourage depth-learning!
“Less-is-more”: depth rather than breadth of coverage!
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 50 ]
Aug 03, 2010
The BLOOM Taxonomy (1956)
The BLOOM Taxonomy:

Analysis
Synthesis
Evaluation
Application
Comprehension
Knowledge
”
”[…] really intended to guide the selection of items for a test rather
than to evaluate the quality of a student’s response to a particular item”
Claus Brabrand
-- (Biggs & Collis, 1982)
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
[ 51 ]
Aug 03, 2010
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Slide 1