Improving Authentic Learning Opportunities

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Draft Sent on May 17, 2016 to Members of the Group

Learning Group for the Finch Center for Teaching and Learning

Members: Rachel Rose, Ann Fick, Konrad Dias, Olaide Sangoseni, Soo Jin Kwoun, Michelle Unterberg, Michael Cibulka, Ashlyn Cunningham


Improving Authentic Learning Opportunities: Developing Problem Solvers Who Can Make Research-Based Decisions in the Workplace.


The purpose of our group is to help each faculty member improve courses or links among courses that are consistent with a learner-centered approach as outlined by Doyle (2011) in Learner-Centered Teaching. All members of our group teach in clinically oriented programs

( e.g., Physical Therapy (Pt), OT, Music Therapy, Education) that involve internships and multiple practicum sites. Our group members are presently implementing a learner-centered approach, but each group member expressed a goal to tweak

  • modules within courses, or
  • links among modules in courses, or
  • links among courses in a program or
  • assessments within or among courses


We hope that such changes in our pedagogy will strengthen the program continuity and accountability and ultimately improve the learning of our students. As we prepare problem solvers for work in the helping professions we intend to explore research-based teaching strategies that integrate both the cognitive and moral aspects of decision making. Our next step is to develop a plan of action for the 2016-2017 academic year during REAL week and begin to implement that action plan during REAL week and the 2016-2017 school year. We welcome faculty members from all disciplines to join our group.


A definition of Authentic Learning ( Doyle, 2011, p, 32.)


“Authentic Learning is a pedagogical approach that allows students to explore, discuss, and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems and projects that are relevant to the learner. It embodies no only the use of real problems and issues but seeks to have students use methods that are used in the real world, including collaboration, technology, and the professional development of processes and solutions.”


Sources This is a site created by Dr. Jan Herrington, Professor of Education. Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. She shares research, sample units, and courses related to authentic learning

Doyle, T. 2011. Learner-centered teaching: Putting the research on learning and teaching into practice.     Sterling Virginia. Stylus Publishing.

Submitted by Dan Rocchio, May 31, 2016