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Creating Significant Learning                    Environments

Course Compilation

      In my dive into the New Culture of Learning, we explored what it means to have this level of accessibility at the fingertips of learners. It can certainly be argued that in many cases forcing students to sit through hours of lectures to only memorize information that they promptly forget after testing is ridiculous. Technology has made information and education ever changing. Instead of repeating what we know doesn't work we must refocus their learning to real-world scenarios, we must implement problem solving and create student-centered, autodidacts that use peer to peer collaboration.  Most of the topics that we drone on about in lectures can be accessed at the tips of their fingers any time night or day. In radiologic science, we are computer driven and so we are also driven by change. The issue we do have in healthcare is that technologists have to be able to make quick decisions based on the situation. There is not time to go look something up if you don't know the correct direction to proceed. This is why you have educators that think that the old way of memorizing everything is the best way. My argument is that if we create these authentic learning environments where the real-world scenarios are part of the education we will still have the results we need but the students will be better problem solvers and critical thinkers because it will make sense. We also get to utilize the most up-to-date information available when we fold this new culture into the actual culture of learning.

From this...... this.

Learning Philosophy

     Understanding our own Learning Philosophy and how this translates into the way we teach is another essential ingredient of creating an environment that is conducive to transforming students into motivated self-learners. It also forces us to reevaluate what our role is as an educator. How can we facilitate learning in a way that keeps students involved and seeking? Do our tactics promote the growth mindset and creating significant learning environments? Are we considering the entire learner? Evaluating if students are making real-world connections and seeing the bigger picture and not just regurgitating facts by adding collaboration and reflection is part of making that happen.  I realized that I hold some pieces of each of the theories to include cognitivism, constructivism, behaviorism, and  humanism.  I most closely align with social constructivism.  I think students learn best from collaboration with peers and learners at different levels. Combining those groups together gives you the best opportunity for growth. Often, a peer can explain a theory in a different way than a teacher and the student will understand better.

"The teacher must adopt the role of                     facilitator not content provider."

                                  -Lev S. Vygotsky

Course Planning

Examining an X-Ray

      Next step in the process is taking my new fleshed-out learning philosophy and finding a way to use those strategies in planning the course or courses that you are innovating. As with determining my learning philosophy, I found that I had many ideas and some really good ones but didn't have a cohesive manner to present them into a plan.  We used two different tools which I believe work best in tandem with each other. First, was Fink's 3 Column Table that works best as a starting place or big picture look at the ultimate goal or BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), which I consider the best case scenario goal.  This plan looks at situational factors and the learning environment and how those elements effect your outcomes. Using this tool alone did not really give me the detail that I wanted to create more focused and relevant learning activities although it was a great place to start.  I used the UbD or "backward design" model to further break down how the course would be presented by starting with the end goals in mind. I started with the BHAG from Fink's but then further reduced that into the more refined elements that were required to achieve that goal. Next, working using the WHERETO (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, pg.22) acronym to determine our learning activities help really to define what the students could do to make those meaningful connections with their learning into the bigger picture.  Fink's made the UbD easier to fill out and that is why I will use both methods in my course design going forward. The field of radiologic science works beautifully in these models because it was relatively simple to determine learning activities that could combine the courses and create meaningful connections with real-world situations. 

How does a focus on learning and creating significant learning environments impact or influence your innovation plan?


This question is best answered as we explore the course planning phase of this semester. Although I have talked about different elements this is the part where the rubber meets the road. The innovation plan has expanded to combine both the procedures courses which were originally part of the plan and the imaging principles course. Patient care elements including pathology have also been folded into the plan to create more real-life scenarios along with adding the collaboration of all 4 peer cohorts at different levels of learning instead of the original 2 peer cohorts. The students have the ability to work at their own pace, to choose and use real-life situations which folds nicely into the principles of COVA. My own perceptions of what it means to have more student-centered learning and situations that promote making meaningful connections between the learning and how that fits into the big picture of the real-world really came into focus this semester. 



Duckworth, A. (2019). Grit. Vermilion. 

Dweck, C. S. (2016). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Ballantine Books. 

Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences, revised and updated an integrated            approach to designing college courses. Jossey-Bass.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a                world of Constant Change. CreateSpace?

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (expanded second ed.). Alexandria,              Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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