Guiding Principles for Creating Learning Environments for UndergraduatesJournal of College Student Development, 37 (2) , 135-148.
The author presents six principles “to guide institutional efforts to enhance student learning and personal development by more purposefully integrating curricular goals and outcomes with students’ experiences outside the classroom.” Based on existing research, the author shares ten conditions that foster student learning and personal development that when implemented together represent an institution with a seamless learning environment, that is, an environment that takes once separate parts of the academic experience (e.g., in-class and out-of-class, academic and non-academic, curricular and co-curricular, on- and off-campus experiences) and blends them into a whole and continuous experience. The six principles reflect the broad scope of activities that must be implemented to move toward an ethos of learning: generate enthusiasm for institutional renewal; create a common vision for learning; develop a common language; foster collaboration and cross-functional dialogue; examine the influence of student cultures on student learning; and focus on systemic change. Some institutions may require additional interventions not described in the six principles. The principles are also not presented as a “hierarchy of activities” – an institution may begin with any one of the activities to move toward an ethos of learning, though all must be addressed.