Having an opportunity to redesign the 3-day Orientation for the DLMC Media Mentors has been wonderful. After 5 years of holding this training session, I truly believe that this year's will be more effective than all the previous sessions. I think the deliberate focus on Terminal Objectives and alignment of activities, as well as the connection between the Assessment (both formative and summative) and activities (Absorb - Do - Connect) will have a very positive affect on the new members of our team. (Horton, 2012)
This careful analysis has shown me that in the past we had activities that weren't crucial to the learning and sometimes even distracted from the most important topics. By focusing on aligning each activity to a specific enabling or terminal objective, by making a deliberate effort to provide varied and interesting activities, by providing different ways of receiving and demonstrating the material learned -- I think I've given the students a much better foundation for what they will need to know to be successful at this job.
In the past, I think I understood UDL as more relating to disabilities and not to learning styles or strengths. Now I know that "Universal design for learning is a set of principles or guidelines that help designers create educational experiences that level the playing field." (Manning, 2017) I do know that I am a visual learner -- if you tell me something without any visual input at all, the chances of me remembering details and applying what I learned are fairly slim. With that consideration in mind, I have always provided handouts, booklets, and video tutorials but now am even more aware that in all ways I present material -- and even more importantly, in all ways that students deliver material back to me -- I need to give them choices to ensure that they have the best chance to be successful. (UDL Guidelines, 2017)
In the past, most of the assessment has been in person with the student showing me that they can do a skill or solve a problem. Basically we were checking skills off a list without really knowing if the information "stuck" with them. In this project, I have intentionally addressed Absorb activities, Do activities and most importantly Connect activities to give the students time and opportunity to really understand the connections between the activities and what they are learning. I am asking them to apply what they've learned to analyze real situations that have occurred in the past, hopefully getting them to go beyond the remember and understand levels of Bloom's Taxonomy and approach the higher order thinking of analyzing and even creating.
Horton, W. (2012). E-Learning by Design (2nd ed.). San Fransciso, CA: Pfeiffer. (p.52)
Manning, S. (2017, June 13). Module 7: Introduction to Universal Design for Learning. Retrieved August 14, 2017, from https://uwstout.courses.wisconsin.edu/d2l/le/content/3796501/viewContent/23261985/View
UDL Guidelines: Theory & Practice Version. (2017, April 17). Retrieved August 14, 2017, from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines_theorypractice