Evaluating nursing syllabi for propensity to employ learning environment design principles
Learning-centered (LC) teachers strive to engage all available resources when developing learning environments to support optimal student learning. By shifting focus away from mere factual knowledge building via memorization, LC teachers employ practices aimed towards students attaining a deeper and more thorough comprehension of issues. By focusing on developing understanding through engaging real-life problems and employing reasoning processes which experts frequently use, LC teachers position students in a more active role in the learning process. A review of literature from 2002 through 2013 reveals expansion of the theoretical understanding of learning-centeredness, as well as, exploration regarding how learning-centeredness articulates within current educational practices. What is not apparent from a review of nursing literature is consistent use of a framework guiding design practices for learning environments. This study conveys use of a framework of learning environment design (LED) in the form of a rubric to evaluate a readily available artifact of college learning environments, the course syllabus. The purpose of this dissertation is two-fold. First, this dissertation explores the development, including validity and reliability substantiation, of a rubric based on the learning design perspectives set forth in a framework for learning environment design (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). Second, this dissertation identifies the extent learning design perspectives are employed in a selection of nursing syllabi. The development of an instrument that is valid and reliable should provide a helpful adjunct for faculty seeking to become more learning centered.