Three Main Points from Tom Caswell’s xTalk

Tom Caswell
January 28
Molly Ruggles

As part of the xTalks series Tom Caswell spoke on “Connecting the Dots Between Course Objectives, Assessments, and Learning Activities" on January 25, and outlined his vision for learning design alignment.  Dubbed the “golden triangle of learning”, Caswell’s model can be applied from the perspective of the learner as well from that of a course designer.  Caswell’s main points were:

I. The three components of the golden triangle of learning:
1.) student capabilities, 2.) learning activities, 3.) measurements & assessments.

(Capabilities are similar to outcomes or competencies.)

II. Looking at this model from the perspective of a learner:

  • Students begin a course with some prior knowledge. (Some of it is required as pre-requisites.)
  • Student capabilities are different when beginning a course, but they are often treated the same. Traditional many-to-one educational environments necessitated this constraint, but technology frees educators to help each learner know where she/he is in regards to the material and the course. Technology lets education be very granular and personal in regards to remediation.

III. Exploring this model from the perspective of a course designer:

Technology allows for capabilities to be defined. From a pre-assessment, one can create a custom learning path. There are three phases of designing a course:

  1. Spring: envision & distill
  2. Summer: design & develop
  3. Fall: launch & improve

When one applies the golden triangle to these phases the ‘improve’ phase becomes very powerful. It’s not about changing the model, but rather about putting oneself in a situation where the data can be effectively leveraged. This kind of mapping is easier to do in STEM courses, but a well-designed rubric can also be applied to the social sciences.

For more information, refer to the audio and PowerPoint slides from Caswell’s talk.

About xTalks:

xTalks: Digital Discourses is a seminar series to facilitate awareness, deep understanding and transference of educational innovations at MIT and elsewhere. xTalks forums share strategies, solutions, and issues related to transformation in educational practice, particularly through the use of digital technologies.

Explore upcoming xTalks, as well as archives of past events with video, audio, and slides.

To sign up for the xTalks mailing list, click here.  

- See more at: http://odl.mit.edu/news-events/blog/five-things-you-missed-if-you-missed...

About xTalks:

xTalks: Digital Discourses is a seminar series to facilitate awareness, deep understanding and transference of educational innovations at MIT and elsewhere. xTalks forums share strategies, solutions, and issues related to transformation in educational practice, particularly through the use of digital technologies.

Explore upcoming xTalks, as well as archives of past events with video, audio, and slides.

To sign up for the xTalks mailing list, click here.