By Jim Vanides

As schools, colleges, and universities prepare to launch the upcoming academic year, questions and concerns abound. Whether a campus has decided to go “fully online”, hybrid, or socially-distanced-on-ground, an opportunity hides just off-stage, waiting to participate – an opportunity to revisit the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Granted, many of the decisions about how to respond to the ongoing pandemic are driven by cost and business models. Yet these considerations are not at odds with the fundamental knowledge we have about how people learn. In fact, whichever modality a campus may choose, the learning sciences (and the trendier practice referred to as “learning engineering”) are essential – even more so in this critical moment in the history of education.

It’s time to dust off the scholarship of teaching and learning as we collectively address the Grand Re-Opening. Imagine what can be accomplished when all the stakeholders come together, driven by the science of learning and the various ways we can measure evidence and efficacy, to design learning experiences that aren’t just a substitute for what was, but are a transformation to what can be even better.

Administrative leaders, practitioners, learning science researchers, and the students themselves, can form a powerful alliance in the pursuit of re-imagining what extraordinary learning can look like. 

It won’t be easy, and yes it will take time; but the concerted effort of an alliance of stakeholders can use continuous improvement to take learning from “like it was” to “what we’ve always wanted it to be” – with ALL students pursuing their interests with passion and completing their pathways at higher rates than ever before. 

Now is the time to revisit the scholarship of teaching and learning – together.

About the author

Jim Vanides

Jim Vanides is a senior education and industry consultant to organizations around the world that are passionate about creating extraordinary learning experiences for students. His consulting practice focuses on working with education and industry organizations to create new possibilities through partnerships. Jim’s experience includes more than a decade of leading global education philanthropy initiatives for HP. From the launch of his engineering career in Silicon Valley to today, Jim has been a tireless advocate for STEM(+) education and teacher professional learning. He serves as an advisor for the California Science Project, an initiative of the University of California Office of the President, and for 15 years has been teaching science teachers online through Montana State University. Jim is also an adjunct faculty member for the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College. Jim holds a BS in Engineering and a MA in Education, both from Stanford University.

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