Formation by Design Symposium


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The Formation by Design Project, a collaboration between the Office of the Provost and CNDLS and part of the Designing the Future(s) of the University Initiative, held a symposium from June 30 to July 2 to advance a vision and framework for measuring the characteristics and dispositions of whole person learning in a more systematic and integrative way. Georgetown faculty, CNDLS staff members, student affairs professionals, and leaders of international projects on holistic and integrative learning, ePortfolios, and learning analytics gathered at Georgetown University and in downtown Washington, DC, to investigate the challenges and opportunities of connecting evidence of formation with the power of learning analytics.

Symposium attendees explored different foci of formational learning through short presentations of related work by researchers and subsequent design challenges. These challenges provoked discussion and documentation of ideas on how to define and measure the impact of holistic learning designs that prepare students to thrive in the 21st-century work and social environment, including embodying traits like resilience, empathy, and the ability to innovate and solve complex problems.


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The final design challenge produced collaborative project proposals in five different research areas: integrated design and assessment, measurement of goals shared across the curricular and co-curricular environments, next generation portfolio practices, machine analytics, and badging for formational outcomes. This generation of ideas for pilots and initiatives was one of three major symposium outcomes, including the development of a robust research network on formation and learner analytics and a defined research agenda that contributes to the larger conversation on the purpose and value of higher education.

In addition to solidifying the vision and framework for formational analytics coming out of the Symposium, Formation by Design team members, including Vice Provost for Education and CNDLS Senior Scholar Randy Bass and CNDLS staff members Mindy McWilliams and Alexis Downey, will meet with Georgetown colleagues next week to develop campus pilots to be implemented in the upcoming academic year.

Follow the Formation by Design project on Twitter @formxdesign

Learn more about the Formation by Design project.

Read what Provost Robert Groves has to say about the project over at the Provost’s Blog.