Faculty Perspectives of College-level Learning

Travers (2010) researched and summarized faculty perspectives of college-level learning. In this study, Travers also asked faculty to define what was below college-level learning and what was at college-level learning for both the undergraduate and the graduate level.

College-level Learning Themes

Overall, Travers found seven themes or areas within which college-level learning can be summarized:

Theory

Definition: the application, demonstration and context within which the concepts are formed and function

Expand the level to view the expected learning.

  • theoretical is based on single, simplistic ideas lacking depth or breath
  • fact-based and at a basic skill level
  • often superficial.

  • theoretical underpinning with a progression beyond simplistic ideas

Integrated theoretical concepts:

  • progression toward integration
  • progression toward expertise/specialization
  • greater depth and breath.

Communication

Definition: the ability to engage in and use sources of communication to share a discourse of thoughts, opinions and information

Expand the level to view the expected learning.

  • unsophisticated, poor skills
  • lacks engagement beyond basic understanding of concepts
  • use of sources limited, often from own experience without supporting evidence
  • discourse is limited, inability to express self or develop thoughts, argument.

  • adequate skills
  • engagement in communication
  • use of sources for communication
  • discourse of thoughts, opinions, or information.

  • skill — clear, sophisticated, fluent, properly used
  • strong engagement in communication
  • use of sources for communication — analyze, apply, integrate and synthesize information from a variety of valid sources
  • discourse with attention to critical analysis, history, controversy, nuances, frameworks, able to critique appropriately.

Relationship Among Ideas

Definition: the ability to shape, engage and interpret ideas to provide analytical and critical perspectives, strategies, abstractions, and synthesis and to explore those ideas through focused questions and discourse

Expand the level to view the expected learning.

  • highly structured, simplistic, fact-based, rote, lacks nuances
  • lack of analysis
  • lacks critical thinking
  • reasoning is more black and white, lacks comparisons and causation
  • comprehension limited to the what rather than the why, not fully developed or conceptual.

  • analysis
  • critical thinking
  • process information
  • symbolism and interpretation
  • synthesis and integration
  • strategies
  • reasoning
  • abstraction
  • research
  • comprehension
  • question.

  • integrative critical analysis
  • evaluate and decipher complex arguments
  • complex reasoning, synthesis & integration
  • highly strategic, utilizes multi-approaches
  • creates original relationships across abstract ideas, deciphers complex and controversial relationships
  • synthesizes and analyzes research, originates research
  • high levels of comprehension
  • questions and initiates new critical perspectives.

Utilization of Ideas

Definition: the ability to apply and demonstrate ideas and concepts within experiential contexts

Expand the level to view the expected learning.

  • application is limited

  • application
  • demonstrate
  • experiential.

  • application integrates concepts in relationship with each other
  • experiential from a research perspective.

Understanding of Self in Relation to Ideas and Learning

Definition: the ability to self-regulate and own one's learning through reflection, suspension of disbelief, intellectual honesty and goal setting and to use self-regulation to engage the learning process

Expand the level to view the expected learning.

  • inability to express own ideas
  • not able to move beyond particular examples or personal experience to generalize
  • inability to navigate learning on own
  • can describe what they do, but not how they learned
  • undeveloped passion to learn.

  • self-reflection
  • self-ownership of knowledge
  • suspension of disbelief
  • intellectual honesty
  • learning to learn
  • passion to learn
  • goal setting.

  • highly self-reflective
  • autonomous ownership of knowledge
  • leadership
  • intellectual honesty
  • utilizes the ability to learn and available resources to advance learning
  • passion to learn
  • clear and directed goal setting.

Understanding of Self, Learning and Ideas in a Broader Context of the World

Definition: the ability to bring contextual awareness from an expanded viewpoint to the learning with the awareness of and appreciation for the perspectives of others

Expand the level to view the expected learning.

  • limited contextual awareness
  • knowledge is an object
  • lacks Interdisciplinary understanding
  • limited understanding of differing viewpoints
  • learn from others/feedback.

  • contextual awareness
  • expanded viewpoint
  • learn from others/feedback.

  • expanded contextual awareness
  • expanded viewpoint.

Relationship to the Field and Academe

Definition: the learning is related to historical and field relevant perspectives and is consistently viewed as college-level across experts within a field and/or multiple faculty members

Expand the level to view the expected learning.

  • theoretical is based on single, simplistic ideas lacking depth or breath
  • fact-based and at a basic skill level
  • often superficial.

  • relationships are questioned and re-examined
  • perspective to various contexts
  • relationships are questioned and re-examined.

  • relationships are redefined and new perspectives and contexts

Citation: Nan L. Travers, (2012) "Academic perspectives on college-level learning: Implications for workplace learning." Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 24 Iss: 2, pp.105 - 118.

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