Favorite Educause Session Started Badly …

It was late afternoon the second day.

The facilitators handed out pieces of sticky notes to gathering attendees who were busy Tweeting or settling down in back rows.

Then they taped 5 papers on walls in different parts of the room.

Then they asked us to vote for 2 on our stickies and get out of our chairs to go register our votes on the papers.

Then the top two turned into break-out interactive sessions just when we got back to our seats … we had to move to the side of the room with the issue we wanted to discuss.

Our suppositions of a sedate passive but mildly entertaining lecture were blown out of the water.

(By the way, I voted for both issues that won). Oh… these 5 items were issues that the Educause ELI group labeled as Top Issues for Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century.

Our issue:

Creating learning environments that promote active learning, critical thinking, collaborative learning, and knowledge creation.

So… wow.

First, what is critical thinking? How do you measure it? Worthy goal, we should know when we get there.

Secondly, what kinds of learning environments? We determined to begin with the student in mind so that we could ‘pitch’ our learning environment to their needs. So, traditional 18-22 year old undergraduate college student. What kind of a learning environment might promote our goals?


  • Flexible (time, space, location)
  • Interactive (we were getting into our own interactive environment)
  • group, social
  • comfortable
  • blend of informal and formal elements

I liked Molly’s contribution of a learning measurement model with 4 stages: Reaction, Learning, Transfer, and Outcome based.

  • “Reaction” Student says, “liked it” or “didn’t like it”
  • “Learning” Student takes pre-test and post-test. They’re compared. Didn’t know “it,” now I know “it.”
  • “Transfer” Student didn’t know it, now knows it, and can use or apply it. (Harder to test).
  • “Outcomes” Student can say how it changed their life. (Hardest to measure).