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higher education, integration, pedagogy

John Tagg’s “The Learning Paradigm College”

In a recent POD listserv post, Alan Bender at University of Indiana, Bloomington recommends a Jossey-bass publication, The Learning Paradigm College by John Tagg. Bender summarizes Tagg’s focus on exposing the difficulty in “viewing education from other than an “Instruction Paradigm” (that focuses on delivering content, grades, credit hours, and degrees).” He also inquires about other resources that think “outside of what might be called a Research Prestige Paradigm (in which all matters dealing with education are seen through the lens of “How does this affect my research program and the research prestige of my department?”).

 

Here is Bender’s summary from John Tagg’s “Learning Paradigm College”.

“Aligning the Five Characteristics of a Learning Paradigm College:

  1. A Learning Paradigm college should support students in pursuing their own goals. But if we simply take the personal goals that most late adolescents or young adults bring with them to college, we will be raising up a generation of video-game mavens—or even worse, a generation committed to the narrow and shallow pursuit of material wealth.
  2. A Learning Paradigm college should require frequent student performance. But student performances done for their own sake will quickly deteriorate into a dismal and uninspiring ritual of pointless display.
  3. A Learning Paradigm college should provide frequent and ongoing feedback. But feedback that is not understood by the performer in a larger context of intrinsic goals and publicly accessible standards often degenerates into trivial grading.
  4. A Learning Paradigm college should assure a long time horizon for learning. But a long time horizon without intrinsic motivation and effective feedback will discourage students and lead to lower persistence.
  5. A Learning Paradigm college should provide for stable communities of practice. But communities that do not incorporate intrinsic motivation and continual feedback over a long period of time usually provide cover for declining standards rather than scaffolding for raising standards.”

 

Here is a summary from the Jossey-Bass site:

In The Learning Paradigm College, John Tagg builds on the ground-breaking Change magazine article he coauthored with Robert Barr in 1995, “From Teaching to Learning; A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education.” That piece defined a paradigm shift happening in American higher education, placing more importance on learning outcomes and less on the quantity of instruction. As Tagg defines it, “Where the Instruction Paradigm highlights formal processes, the Learning Paradigm emphasizes results or outcomes. Where the Instruction Paradigm attends to classes, the Learning Paradigm attends to students.”

The Learning Paradigm College presents a new lens through which faculty and administrators can see their own institutions and their own work. The book examines existing functional frameworks and offers a way to reenvision and recast many familiar aspects of college work and college life, so that readers may better understand their learners and move toward a framework that focuses on learning outcomes.

Divided into five parts, the book introduces the Learning Paradigm, concentrates on understanding our learners, provides a framework for producing learning, discusses the six essential features of the Learning Paradigm college, and focuses on how to become a Learning Paradigm college.

Eminently clear and accessible descriptions of the features of the Learning Paradigm are paired with examples of how institutions of higher education around the country are transforming themselves into Learning Paradigm colleges. The Learning Paradigm College is both hopeful and realistic about what all those involved in higher education can achieve.

Eminently clear and accessible descriptions of the features of the Learning Paradigm are paired with examples of how institutions of higher education around the country are transforming themselves into Learning Paradigm colleges. The Learning Paradigm College is both hopeful and realistic about what all those involved in higher education can achieve.

The Learning Paradigm College
John Tagg, Peter T. Ewell (Foreword by)
ISBN: 978-1-882982-58-5
Hardcover, 400 pages
April 2003

If you are an instructor, you may request an evaluation copy for this title.
Find supplements, online resources, and technology solutions for this title on Wiley.com.

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About judithcoe

I am a retired music professor emerita, faculty development champion, SoTL practitioner mentor and trainer, technology geek, fulbright alum, cultural ambassador, digital explorer, artist, and observer with a passion for Irish land- and seascapes, music and literature, Blasket Island people and culture, and the sea.

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