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COVID-19 Updates: CCAPS and the University

Defining and Describing Learning: A World Cafe Guided Discussion

60 minutes

Much of the value from attending a conference comes from the engagement and interaction with the other participants. Finding time to address larger issues and to share ideas is treasured. This session will provide the opportunity to meet, engage, and connect with others on a topic of interest to us all, the nature of learning. Rather than a traditional presentation with limited questions, the session will consist of a World Cafe discussion. In a World Cafe, participants meet at small tables and engage in discussion in response to a series of questions. Table hosts keep the conversation going and are responsible for recording the ideas and directions of each table. After a brief period (15 minutes) the discussion is summarized at each table and shared with the larger group. All participants, save the host, change tables and sit at a different table, engaging new colleagues. The process continues for a third question as time allows. At the end of the discussion time, notes from the tables are collected and will be sent to all participants in the session in PDF form. As practitioners—whether as university faculty, instructional designers, or classroom teachers—we seldom have the opportunity to reflect on the nature of learning and on our own practice. We understand the power of reflection for our students, in remembering and applying ideas, but we seldom take the time to reflect on our own practice, and on the base ideas of our work. When was the last time you considered the questions of what is learning, what should be learned, or how to recognize that learning has occurred? We need to examine these questions and be open to the ideas of others and their understanding to be effective in our profession. Each of the other participants will bring valuable insights in better understanding creativity. 

In this workshop, participants will: begin the process of reflecting on their own understanding of the phenomenon of learning; improve their own evidence-based reasoning skills through a series of exercises and activities.; develop strategies to design and implement Visual Thinking Strategies in their courses.

Topic Area(s): Adaptive & Personalized Learning; Assessment & Analytics; Learner Engagement Strategies; Student Success


Brad Hokanson is a professor in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. He has a diverse academic record, including degrees in art, architecture, urban design. He received his PhD in Instructional Technology. He won his two colleges' awards for outstanding teaching in 2002 and 2008. He has been trained in the Art of Hosting at various workshops.