Surveys of Student Learning Goals-Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Instructor: Denise Rousseau
Course: 45-961 Evidence-Based Management, Tepper School of Business
Assessment: Survey of Student Learning Goals

Purpose:

I wanted to motivate students to engage with the course material more actively. I asked the students to formulate their own learning goals for the course to make the course more personally relevant and to encourage them to devote careful attention to the course material.

Implementation:

During the first class meeting, students completed a survey in which they (1) reflected on and formulated their own learning goals, (2) rated their own level of domain expertise along a continuum ranging from “novice” to “expert,” and (3) shared any additional thoughts, hopes, or recommendations about the course. At the mid- and end-points of the semester, students completed a survey in which they (1) rated how well the course had met their learning goals on a three-point scale, (2) rated their own level of domain expertise on a continuum ranging from “novice” to “expert,” and (3) shared any additional thoughts, hopes, or recommendations about the course.

Results:

An understanding of students’ learning goals helped me to better motivate student learning by explicitly connecting course materials and activities to students’ learning goals. When students omitted important learning goals (such as improving their own personal performance as managers), I made a case for the relevance of these goals and the activities that supported their acquisition.  Collecting student learning goals also enabled me to evaluate the effectiveness of the course in helping students meet specific goals. In subsequent versions of the course, I plan to use this information and student feedback on the usefulness of specific course activities to refine the course objectives, instructional activities, and assessments.

Comments:

Prior to assessing students’ learning goals in a course, I believe it is helpful to discuss the distinction between performance goals (e.g., getting an A) and learning goals (e.g., acquiring specific skills or knowledge).

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