[RE]LEARN 2020 - The Learning Innovation Festival
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Tuesday, November 10 • 10:30 - 10:45
Impact as the next step toward authentic assessment

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Learning Objective: To assess learning not as a set of skills that remain internal, but as action that has impact on the self, others, and the world.

Intended audience: Anyone who is interested in alternative forms of assessment, particularly as they design learning experiences that seek outcomes hat are authentic and potentially reiterative.

In this workshop, we will discuss why measuring impact is the next step toward applying learning to action. We will look at how to measure impact qualitatively and quantitatively, using Net Promoter Scores as means to collect feedback and reflect on our products/ideas so as to improve them.

Impact is the only thing that matters in our lives. Impact is the dynamic, never ending process that takes place when we interact with the world, others, and ourselves. The level and quality of impact we have is the result of our actions, which are the consequences of our thinking. Without going too far down this philosophical path (I’d get lost anyway), impact is why we do anything and everything we do. I write to influence, that has (I hope!) impact. You help animals in distress, that has impact. We design a playground together for the community, that has impact. We burn fossil fuels, that has impact. Impact is also the way we demonstrate our creativity, communication skills, ability to apply math, purple prose, and so on. Learning is when we can transfer our skills onto new endeavors or reiterations of endeavors to have (more) significant impact.

What if, instead of chasing our tails trying to measure learning, we focused on the only thing that matters, impact? This would create the terrain for truly authentic products because these would no longer be assessed in isolation; they would be constructed specifically to have impact. Like the age-old question If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?, too many projects (and I’m thinking of poorly-implemented Genius Hour here) exist only in themselves and fade away at the end of the semester, which takes away any purpose to the project in the first place. If we started to measure impact and asked whether the user would recommend a solution (product or service), we would externalize the outcome and target an authentic audience that must decide whether it would stake its name by recommending this particular solution. This takes us beyond “oh this is nice and this is what I like about it…” to “I would recommend this solution because…” This takes our thinking deeper. This is how the world works outside the classroom. This is how we need to re-imagine why we do things in schools. This prepares students for the uncertainties of the world through constant reflection on thinking, actions, learning, and planning for improvements—in essence, for innovation.

This ends summative assessment as we know it and makes everything formative, and since learning should be generative, this allows us to appreciate the intangible complexities of the learning process.

avatar for Benjamin Freud

Benjamin Freud

Co-Founder, Coconut Thinking
Dr. Benjamin Freud began his career in consulting for start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin’s outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurialism... Read More →

Tuesday November 10, 2020 10:30 - 10:45 CET