Support your learners in achieving course goals
What support (including content and practice opportunities) do students need in order to succeed on the assessments you've designed? Thinking about this from the students' point of view, it's only fair to offer opportunities to practice the knowledge and skills that will be needed to succeed on the final assessment.
Breaking learning objectives into smaller, achievable chunks and supporting students as they develop foundational skills is known as instructional scaffolding. As students achieve greater understanding, the scaffolding, or supports, are no longer necessary. Students bring their own prior knowledge to the classroom, which can enliven class discussions and make each section different. It can be challenging, though, as each learner may need support with different skills and concepts. Below are some resources to help you brainstorm scaffolding strategies that support all your students.
- 6 Scaffolding Strategies to Use with Your Students from Edutopia.
- Instructional Scaffolding to Improve Learning from Northern Illinois University.
Bringing It Together: Objectives, Assessment, and Supports
A great thing about open educational resources is that you can fully customize what you provide to your learners. There's probably a lot students need to know to succeed in your class. One way to reduce the feeling of overwhelm for your students is to eliminate content that's not essential, or at least make it clear what's optional vs. required. At the same time, you can expand support for concepts and skills that students find difficult to grasp. In addition to providing many opportunities for practice and feedback, you can also support students by considering the most appropriate format for a particular concept. While learning styles don't have much scientific grounding, some content may naturally lend itself to being better understood visually, in writing, and/or through hands-on learning (read more from Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching).
Amy Hofer uses this spreadsheet to map out the different components of her course, ensuring her resources and deliverables support her objectives. You can copy and modify it if it seems helpful to you.
AttributionsText: "Provide scaffolding for your learners" was modified from "Scaffolding" and "Plan Your Layout" in the OER Course Redesign Training: Open Ed Week Sprint [Canvas Commons course] by Amy Hofer/Open Oregon Educational Resources. Used under CC BY 4.0.
Image: Public domain via Max Pixel.