The University of Michigan embraces the practice of Engaged Learning. Engaged learning offers the student opportunities to practice in unscripted, authentic settings, where stakeholders (students) are invested in the outcome. Important educational outcomes for students’ intellectual, professional and personal development include: 1.) Creativity; 2.) Intercultural engagement; 3.) Social/civic responsibility and ethical reasoning; 4.) Communication, collaboration, and teamwork; 5.) Self-agency, and the ability to innovate and take risks. Students are engaged through multiple pathways, including community based experiences, didactic and clinical experiences. Through these approaches students begin to develop the skills to achieve the five learning goals.
The Physician Assistant Department utilizes a Learner-Centered teaching approach. The goal of learner-centered practice is to create learning environments that optimize student’s opportunities to pay attention and actively engage in authentic meaningful and useful learning. (Doyle, T., 2011, Learner-Centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning into Practice, Pg.9)
An authentic learning activity is designed to draw on existing talents and experiences of the students, building confidence through participation and helping one to see the connection between personal aptitude and professional practice. The activity is matched to the needs of the new participatory learner, one whose expectations for active hands-on involvement in learning have been raised by the proliferation of creative opportunities, now available through a multitude of media tools.
Features of Authentic Learning Experiences include:
- Deals with a real-world task
- Has value beyond the school setting
- It is interdisciplinary
- Allows a variety of learning styles
- Affords students the opportunity to take ownership of their learning
- Is student driven
- Positions the teacher a facilitator.
- Uses scaffolding to assist learning
- Uses real time data that student may investigate and draw conclusions from. (uses critical thinking and advanced comprehension skills to relate meaning from separate resources)
- Encourages students to work together and discuss how to solve problems.
- Asks students to produce a product that is directed toward a real audience.
(Doyle, T., 2011, Learner-Centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning into Practice, Pg.35)