Organization for Learning Value

Organization for Learning Value

Description

When organized for learning value, the content of a unit, subject or course, is re-structured to address basic principles, broad, interdisciplinary themes and generalizations [See section on Complexity]. Students study the relationships among key concepts and principles in the relevant disciplines to develop the integrative thinking skills they will need in order to construct rich, sophisticated understandings and more efficient skills than they would in standard curriculum. They will be able to use it processing new knowledge within and across disciplines in the future.”Womack (1966) suggested that educators (a) choose from an authoritative body of theory and ideas those generalizations most likely to be discovered from the planned content of the course, (b) place the selected generalizations in order of priority from those that must be learned to those that are desirable, (c) select from the list of “must” generalizations those that students can discover in specific units of study, and (d) arrange units so that the critical generalizations are included in the sequence of student activities within the unit of study.” [18]
Based on her synthesis of the research literature, Rogers also recommended teachers of highly able learners present content “in a whole-to-part fashion by concepts, principles, issues and generalizations rather than from the base of facts, terms, and parts of a whole idea.”[19]

Creating or modifying curriculum organized for learning value usually requires a substantial reorganization of the content. It also involves subject matter experts because it requires a sophisticated understanding of the structure of the discipline. This endeavor requires a major commitment of time and resources. This is a big task, best undertaken by a team.

Examples

The units developed by Joyce VanTassel-Baska and teams at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary[20] epitomize curriculum that is organized for learning value. Their creation involved experts in the content involved in each unit as well as experts in gifted education and curriculum development. They have developed units of study for Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and more.