As part of our unique approach to education, many classes at Maitripa College have been constructed using the pedagogical approach pioneered by Dee Fink, based on his approach outlined in Designing Courses for Significant Learning (2013). This approach takes a holistic view of student learning and instructor guidance based on the conscious cultivation of six areas presented in Fink’s taxonomy as follows:
1. Foundational Knowledge
Remembering and understanding information. Other kinds of learning build from this base of content knowledge.
Students learn how to engage in some new kind of action, which may be intellectual, physical, social, etc. Learning how to engage in various kinds of thinking (critical, creative, practical) is also an important form of application learning.
Making connections between ideas, learning experiences or subject areas. These are often the deeper underlying rules or processes that connect what may at first appear to be disconnected phenomena.
4. Human Dimension
Learning about yourself and others. This may mean how the material applies to students and those around them, how accomplishing a task or difficult project might reflect on the student (self-image), or what these accomplishments might mean for their future goals (self-ideal).
Developing interest or value for the topic within students. If you have chosen a topic to teach because it is important, often you will want students to develop a similar appreciation.
6. Learning How to Learn
Improving students’ learning skills while simultaneously learning content. This means that students are not only becoming more efficient at learning but becoming self-directed to continue learning beyond the course.
(adapted from Fink, 2003)
Curricular design that takes this taxonomy into account results in an education that works deeply to shape and transform the student.
From our students (end of term course evaluations):
“Incredible breadth of history while also getting real depth!!!” … “I learned so much and now have such a better handle on a historical scaffolding to guide my understanding! Invaluable!” …