Universal Design for Learning and Innovation Blog
My burning question: How can educators design
their classes to be more inclusive to benefit a
greater number of students?
One of the outcomes of the UDL guidelines is to create goal-directed learners. Setting goals has be shown to increase motivation in students (Locke and Latham, 2002). Setting goals can also increase student achievement. An online goal setting intervention, conducted by Morisano, Hirsh, Peterson, Pihl, and Shore (2010), was delivered to college students over a four-month period and the results showed a 30 percent increase in average in grade percentage when compared to a control group.
Defining a Goal
In my own practice, I noticed that I had seriously neglected to create goal-directed learners by neglecting guideline number 6: "Provide options for executive functions". I was not helping students with their goal-setting and not allowing them to think about or even communicate their goals to their peers or myself.
This semester, I wanted to seriously change that so I had students discuss goals on our LMS website. I was able to help students discuss and refine their goals based on research by Schunk (1990) who describes a good goal as one that is specific (clear and well-defined), Proximal (can the long-term goal contain shorted goals within it), and is the appropriate level of difficulty (challenging, but achievable).
Resources to help students track goals
Educators can help their students with tracking their goals by taking advantage of tools that are readily available. On my learning management website for example, I have just started using the calendar feature, and this has helped many students schedule when assignments and projects are due. It seems like common sense, but I had never used this before, instead, just relying on outlining key dates at the beginning of the semester.
If you don't have access to a learning management website, you can also setup a Google calendar for the class. The added benefit of using this application is that students can track their goals as well as important dates for the course on their phones. Microsoft Outlook also has a great scheduling application for students, but unlike Google, does not have a place where students can track their goals.
Top 3 Applications for Monitoring Student Progress
This mobile app helps students track their studying habits and will reward them with "high-fives" if they reach a goal that is set, maybe read class contents for 3 hours each day. Through the app, students can also reach out to coaches who can help them stay on track whether their goals include, educational goals or health goals.
This mobile app is probably my favourite when it comes to monitoring goals. It allows students to take distal goals and break them down into smaller (proximal) goals. It is also very easy to use and students can share and have fun by adding pictures and messages of their progress that can be shared.
If your students like using fitbit, this is basically the fitbit of goal-setting. I love this app as it allows students to choose a wide variety of goals, such as research, read, drink more water, save money and a lot of other possible goals. It also provides various ways to track goals.
When it comes to helping students achieve goals, we as educators need to allow students to discuss their goals, help them to refine these goals, be explicit in setting due dates, and finally, allow students to track their progress by using new and fun applications.
Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57, 705–717.
Morisano, D., Hirsh, J. B., Peterson, J. B., Pihl, R. O., & Shore, B. M. (2010). Setting,elaborating, and reflecting on personal goals improves academic performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(2), 255264.
Schunk, D. H. (1990). Goal setting and self-efficacy during self-regulated learning. Educational psychologist, 25(1), 71-86.