Monthly Archives: May 2011

Closing the Loop – Bloom’s Taxonomy and Service Learning at Malone University

Many in academia are familiar with Bloom’s taxonomy of learning. If you are not or need a refresher you can follow the link to wikipedia for a review.

One of the goals of higher education, and more so a liberal arts education, is to move our learners from mere book knowledge into substantive understanding, evaluation, and application of knowledge. In terms of Bloom’s taxonomy we want to move them from the lower levels (knowledge, comprehension, and application) to the higher levels (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation).

Another term (and the title of this post) which can be applied to this concept is “closing the loop” on a learner’s education. We do not settle for just jamming a bunch of facts into your brain. We want our learners to ask, “How does what I am learning affect how I will live and work after I leave Malone?”, “What can I glean from my in class experiences and out of class experiences that shapes who I am and what I am to become?”.

While we, as a university, accomplish “closing the loop” (and since I am mixing metaphors I will also say moving people “up” Bloom’s taxonomy) in a number of ways. I wanted to highlight a specific method that we employ as both a liberal arts school and as a Christian school with a heritage in the Evangelical Friends Church. Our “Service Learning” program begins with the “Into the Streets” program where freshmen go out and help people in the local community. It continues throughout the year we send our students out to minister to local, state, national, and international fields. We keep several people on-staff whose jobs include facilitating these encounters.

Ok, this is a technology blog and I haven’t talked much tech yet so here it comes. Our University Relations office in conjunction with our office of Service Learning has set up blogs for many of the service learning encounters happening this summer. These blogs contain reflections of our students as they are in the field. Here is a listing of the blogs set up for this summer’s trips:

I encourage you to take some time to review them. Some trips are active as I write this post and others have already returned. Think about ways in which you can close the loop for the learners whom you get to work with.

 

Liver and Onions – Learning from each other through personal success stories

The premise of this post is that people learn easiest/best? from trusted peers telling personal success stories versus “sage-on-the-stage” workshops or classes.

For the many learners who also happen to have terminal degrees on campus, the question can become: “Where and who do I learn from?” One answer to this is from your peers. The community of professional learners which surrounds you on this campus and in the larger circles (Communities of Practice) of which you are each a part.

See the Youtube video (its actually audio only) from Maureen Greenbaum of Union County College in New Jersey about Liver and Onions in England during WWII.