To thrive in college, become a scapper

In many colleges in the United States, almost half of first-year college students do not make it to graduation. Stop and think about this for a minute. Our current US higher education system is designed in such a way that it kills the dreams, hopes, and aspirations of almost 50% of the students who enter through its gates. As you meditate on this reality, let’s run a related thought experiment. What would you say about an airline company that designs and flies planes that kill 50% of it’s passenger? Would you buy a ticket from that company? Would you support letting that company maintain the status quo?

To me, when I think about how our current policy choices fail to support so many students, I see a need for major reforms. I want to avoid blaming students and faculty for this failure. While I believe each of us has a moral responsibility to challenge current policies and advocate for reform, I also realize that no individual shoulders the entire weight of the injustices that are baked into our current system. Instead, I believe we should learn to focus our collective energies on policy changes to better support our local communities in creating significant learning experiences in college and beyond. Such policy changes will require decades (if not centuries) of sustain activism at the grass-roots level.

In the meantime, if you are part of the current generation of college students, our community here at The Learning Code wants to help you develop and refine system-navigation skills so that you can thrive in an environment that is designed to weed you out. As part of this effort, I want to help you develop a scrapper’s mindset, which is exactly what we explore in this post.

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Make Learning Meaningful: What is Foundational Knowledge?

Figure 1: Learner-centered revision of L. Dee Fink’s taxonomy of significant learning. In Fink’s original model, there are six categories of significant learning. In this revised version, we include ten categories of significant learning that are grouped together into larger categories of learning including Content, Character, Community, and Learning.

Our mission at The Learning Code is to encourage, support, and inspire you to create value in your college education. We know that you can succeed in your classes, earn your degree, and build a foundation for a career that you love. The Learning Code community is here to help you in that journey. However, we can only show you the door. You’re the one that needs to walk through it. To really build the type of college education that you value, you need to take ownership over your own learning. As we’ve stated previously, learning is all about change. To create significant learning experiences in college, you need to change the way you think about yourself, your goals, and your own learning. This includes developing a nuanced understanding of what it means to learn and figuring out the type of learning you want to do. In this post, we explore foundational knowledge which is one of eight different types of learning that you can create in college. This post is part of our Make Learning Meaningful series. The next seven posts in this series explore seven other types of learning you can engage in as you navigate your college degree. By expanding your understanding of what it means to learn, you can more easily seek out the types of learning you believe are right for your life and your future.

Continue reading “Make Learning Meaningful: What is Foundational Knowledge?”