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Editor’s note: Lesson formats are changing in 2018 for Relief Society and priesthood quorums of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the third of three articles about teaching and learning perspectives.
What if the word “teacher” were replaced in the English language with the phrase “learning designer”?
An immediate challenge to this proposal is that the phrase “learning designer” doesn’t role off the tongue very easily, and no one immediately knows what the phrase means.
So, let’s explore: A learner designer is someone who thoughtfully prepares experiences to increase the likelihood of others’ learning and growth.
Under this definition, teaching is but one aspect of a learning designer’s role. For example, if we imagine teaching as a stage production, the time on stage is only a very small part of the overall thought and effort that goes into a successful performance.
To be clear, the best teachers are not simply performing on stage to the delight of passive viewers. Rather, the best teachers catalyze learning. And the best teachers are those who have paid the price to consider what the learners will do during the learning experience and what the teacher must do to help the learners learn.
Here are five actions teachers can do to be learning designers.
• First, a learning designer identifies how the learners will be different because of the class they are in. Learning designers ask, “Because of the learning experiences I design, how will learners’ knowledge, behavior, attitudes or beliefs positively grow?”
• Second, a learning designer describes how they and the learners will know that positive change has been achieved.
• Third, a learning designer plans activities that will help bring about the positive change identified.
• Fourth, a learning designer implements the planned activities.
• Fifth, a learning designer assists the learners in seeing the positive changes they’ve experienced and invites them to continue learning.
As teachers (and leaders can be included here, too) see their role less as someone who simply performs for an audience and more as someone who designs and creates experiences that facilitate and catalyze others’ learning, they will discover more power in the gospel principle of agency and wonderment at the glory that God disperses upon his children who are insatiable learners.