MSU’s Learning Design Strategy is meant to be a useful resource; it is designed to shape, advance and enrich the MSU community by ensuring that our learning environments put our values into practice. The institution is shaped by every decision we make and by how those decisions are made. This heuristic is meant to facilitate strategic decision-making across the university with regard to learning design – from developing programs to planning curricula, and from designing classroom assignments to assessing learning experiences.
We suggest a decision-making process that is focused, consistent, measured, future-oriented and informed by our institutional values. If we frame our decision-making in these ways, then over time, we cultivate habits that are consistent with our values and that produce outcomes that embody who we are: excellent, inclusive and connected.
To be useful, we offer two heuristics that can be deployed in tandem.
The first is a set of statements intended to serve as iterative touchstones to anchor our core values and institutional habits:
- If learning is not present in an environment, we will create a learning environment.
- If a commitment to and evidence of learning is present, we will make it authentic.
- If authentic learning is present, we will make it accessible, inclusive, excellent and/or otherwise aligned with MSU’s values.
- If aligned with our values and authentic learning is present, we will make it sustainable.
This four-point heuristic is concrete, but can scale to shape many different types of conversations about learning design.
The second related heuristic offers examples to help inspire, shape and guide thinking. And MSU has a number of examples of designed learning environments, expert teachers and intellectual tools that can serve as resources for thinking. Spend time with some of these examples. Some will inspire. Some will help shape thinking. Others might guide design processes in a productive direction.
If we put these ways of thinking together into a design process, we might get something like Figure 3.