NORMAN, OK, March 9, 2021 — Students often struggle to make connections between what they learn in their college courses and the skills they need to be successful after graduation. TEL Education is launching the Student Learning Dashboard to help students clearly see and verbalize the 21st-century skills and competencies they learn across their general education courses and encourage students to take a more active role in their educational journey.
Students Lack Context and Ownership
According to TEL Education’s Executive Director, Dr. Rob Reynolds, “One of the biggest challenges in today’s education environments is that, for many students, learning has become a ‘black box’ of sorts. The purposes and processes of learning, the “why” and “what for,” are largely invisible and inaccessible to students.”
As a result, Reynolds says, students in secondary and postsecondary programs often lack a sense of context or connectedness in their learning. They are unable to answer critical, formative questions such as: What’s the big picture? Where am I on my learning journey? Why do I need to know this? How does what I’m learning today align with my interests and goals? How is what I’m learning in this course connected to what I am learning in other courses?
Making the Connections Visible
The TEL Student Learning Dashboard is a student-focused application designed to help students visualize their learning and accomplishments against a prescribed set of learning outcomes, goals, and skills.
More specifically, the Student Learning Dashboard will help students:
- See the connections between their course activities, real-world skills and applications, and potential career paths
- Earn and share badges and certificates related to coursework and 21st-century skills and competencies
- Reflect on their learning experiences to gain a deeper understanding of the meta-learning that happens in these education experiences (for example research skills, writing skills, group dynamics, communication skills)
- Track their progress towards the curricular goals of their institutions/programs
- Create and track their progress toward personal learning goals
- Create a portfolio of evidence that shows the student how they are meeting learning goals
- Share their portfolio evidence with teachers, coaches, and potential employers.
TEL’s Connected Ecosystem
One of TEL’s significant advantages in developing the Student Learning Dashboard is our existing ecosystem of curricula mapped to TEL Outcomes and Mastery Standards and
integrated with the TEL LMS. This connected ecosystem allows us to map learning to outcomes and standards across multiple courses to create a complete portrait of student learning. This portrait addresses both the course content and the ancillary or meta-skills that they are acquiring as they learn.
The Student Learning Dashboard is currently integrated with the TEL Learning Platform and is free to any school or students using TEL courses for college credit. A stand-alone version that can be integrated into other LMSs is expected to be available in Q4 of 2021.
Giving Students Ownership
On the backend, each learning assessment item in TEL courses, such as quizzes, assignments, and quiz questions, is aligned to metadata that indicates specific learning outcomes and Mastery Standards connected to the item, as well as a difficulty level. When a student completes an assessment item with a set passing grade, the student earns points towards “mastering” the associated outcomes and or standards.
The Student Learning Dashboard is designed to help students create and maintain a comprehensive learner record (CLR) that contains demonstrable evidence of learning through academic and professional coursework as well as via personal and professional experience. Each student owns their Learning Dashboard CLR and can add to it as they continue their learning and professional development.
ABOUT TEL EDUCATION
TEL Education is a non-profit organization committed to facilitating equitable access to high-quality, affordable learning in the U.S. TEL offers its library of general education courses to high schools, colleges and universities, and homeschool parents and organizations. As part of its mission to support affordable life-learning, TEL also maintains a free reference library and offers low-cost certificate courses. For more information, please visit https://www.staging7.tel-education.org.