Theme 2: Use Good Problems

11 11: Skills as Strategies — Apply skills to solve problems

With SKILLS AS STRATEGIES, Gee suggests providing problems that require using specific skills and sets of skills to solve — and structuring them so learners recognize the value of the skills in solving the problems.

SKILLS AS STRATEGIES strategies in teaching

  • Introduce needed skills for final assessment early and consistently. Revisit and incorporate those skills into problems throughout the course.
  • Clearly state purpose of learning activities and assessments as they relate to being successful in the course overall. Explicitly remind students of learning outcomes throughout course.
  • Encourage students to connect and use the skills learned in course to other challenges in their lives.
  • Connect course content to students’ other interests and future career options (this also capitalizes on the “Identity” principle).
  • Encourage collaborative problem solving by assigning specialized tasks to individuals or groups in a challenging project that requires each to contribute their knowledge and skills to succeed (jigsawing).
  • Add a few strategies that might work in your course, and see ideas from others, here.

SKILLS AS STRATEGIES strategies in Canvas

  • Reinforce course learning Outcomes by explicitly and repeatedly connecting them to as many elements in the course (lessons, readings, quizzes, tests, discussions, projects, etc.) as possible.
  • Use Outcomes to create rubrics for assignments that break down the requisite skills to complete it.
  • Let students revisit past quizzes and exams to revisit and retrieve information needed to be successful in later ones.
  • Set up Piazza or Discussion forums for students to teach and learn from each other by, for example, sharing how they solve problems. Reward this sharing.
  • Add a few strategies that might work in your course, and see ideas from others, here.

Knowledge Check


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