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BHAG! Significant Learning Goals!

June 23, 2018

Every time I hear BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) I envision this fuzzy little monster, kinda taunting you. Some view the BHAG monster as overwhelming and too much to handle - but I know he is actually friendly and there to remind us of where we want to go, to assist us and keep us focused while we execute our vision. He asks us the important questions and forces us to reflect. 


As educators we have all heard administrators and other educational leaders say, "what do you want your kids to know at the end of the course?", but I believe the question should be, "who will your kids be at the end of their time with you?" It is time we stop asking what our kids need to know to pass a test and start asking who are kids will be when they leave us and what skills they should possess for the future they are creating. The answers to this question helps teachers set a goal for their students long after they leave their classroom.


My goal for my disruptive innovation plan of expanding the maker movement from just my school to all the schools in my district is to equip my co-workers with the skills and mindset needed to successfully create and implement makerspaces in their libraries... with the bigger goal of providing an environment for all students to explore, create and discover. I asked myself who I wanted our kids to be at the end of their time in our makerspaces and who I wanted my fellow Innovative Learning Specialists to be, what I envisioned their mindset to be. I took those 2 goals (one for my co-workers and one for our students) and rolled them up into one BIG hairy audacious goal.

After you know where you want your learners to be when it is all said and done, it is time to start developing a course design to get them there.


To do this, I used Fink's (2003) self-directed guide to creating significant learning. He describes a new vision of "what teaching and learning should be, based on 3 major ideas: significant learning, integrated course design, and better organizational support" (Fink, 2003, pg. 14). When designing a course, unit or training for staff, the first step must be to carefully review the situational factors, which I was able to do using a worksheet adopted from Fink's learning environment and situational factors. He points out that "if you skip over this step or do a superficial job, you increase the chances of ending up with a course that doesn't work for the students involved (Fink, 2003, pg. 90). The next step is to formulate learning goals for each level of learning, which I accomplished by using a worksheet of questions based on Fink's Taxonomy of Significant Learning. I could then design learning activities that would assist learners to achieve each goal and finally determine what type of assessment to best display what skills and/or information the learners have gained. I then complied this information in a 3 column table below. 


I look forward to implementing my course design and am excited to see the outcome! 





Fink, L.D. (2003) A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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