Yay! Another semester! Another chance to have an impact, another chance to make a difference. As you start to get into the semester groove, think about your own experiences as a learner. What do you remember? What made it a great learning experience? Chances are it was not the content itself that was memorable but how the content was delivered. Julie Dirksen, in her book Design for How People Learn, asks, “What’s the difference between a learning experience that’s effective versus one that gets forgotten as soon as the learner is done?” I believe good learning design offers students’ knowledge and skills they can apply to the real world; it’s about the learner being able to do something with their new knowledge.

Think of each class as an opportunity to share what you are passionate about and look for your students to be as excited about the topic as you are. One of the most difficult parts of getting your students excited about learning is gaining their attention, moving past the distractions and helping your students to focus. Once you’ve got their attention, how can you keep it? One way is to show them how the information is relevant and how it can be used to achieve goals. Outlining the important knowledge and skills the students need to gain from your class can help you build more effective learning activities and assessments.

The start of a new Fall semester is always exciting for me, the possibilities for learning are endless. The process is as important as the outcome, so think of ways to reward students for participation and encourage them to engage with you and each other to offer a more robust learning experience. I’m thrilled to be back and I hope that you will join me in a continued discussion this year centered around teaching and learning with technology. Contact Learning Systems if you need help getting started.