Hattie Duplechain

Hattie Duplechain is Ashoka U's Knowledge Curator and leads research and measurement efforts for the the Ashoka U team.

40 Conversations About Learning Outcomes

Several weeks ago I shared this post – 3 Critical Questions Changemaker Learning Outcomes Can Help Us Answer and asked all of you – what learning outcomes have you developed to guide your changemaker education offerings?

Much to my surprise, I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the response (in the best possible way!).

I knew some of you had developed learning outcomes for your offerings, but I had no idea how many of you were already engaged in this work, or how fascinating these conversations would be.

I’ve now conducted more than 40 interviews with people who’ve developed social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and changemaking learning outcomes at institutions across nine countries. And this is just the beginning! We now know there is enough interest to move forward with a new Ashoka U publication and we invite you to get involved (read on for more).

Here are three key insights from my conversations to date:

1) From Many Changemaker Outcomes, Core Competencies Do Emerge

It’s no surprise that there are a lot of differences between the learning outcomes driving social entrepreneurship, social innovation, and changemaking education. And that’s not a bad thing. Our students begin their changemaking journeys in different places and aim to go in different directions. Learning experiences should be attuned to our students learning needs.

After talking to so many different educators and innovators, approaching changemaking education in such diverse ways, I wasn’t sure whether we’d see similarities at all. But from social entrepreneurship education in business schools to social justice programming outside the formalized school system, trends did begin to emerge.

Many of the core changemaker competencies that are emerging focus on our ability to hear, learn from, and work with others. We used different language to describe these competencies. At Ashoka, we refer to many of them as changemaker skills. In conversations, some described them as leadership abilities. But people consistently talked about the importance of empathy, of listening, of inclusiveness, of collaboration.

It’s a good reminder that no matter the changemaking path we take, people are at the center. Changemakers must learn to work together.

2) We are Building Changemaker Outcomes Together

Our students are not the only ones collaborating. Changemaker educators are bringing together people from across their changemaking ecosystems to build strong and holistic learning outcomes.

Why? There are so many different changemaking pathways our students might take. To understand how to prepare them, it’s important to understand what those paths are. And our fellow educators, community members, social entrepreneurs, beneficiaries, students, researchers, alumni, can all help us to do that.

To collaboratively build learning outcomes, some people are facilitating community engagement processes. Others are establishing interdisciplinary committees. Others are drawing on broad research to access different perspectives. Still, others have turned to their former students to understand what has been most useful and where there have been gaps in their changemaking education.

People are taking really different approaches to collaboratively developing their learning outcomes, no one size fits all methodology emerged. But including the perspectives of many different stakeholders emerged as an important theme.

3) Building Outcomes is a Flexible, Iterative Process

If we had one definitive list of changemaking outcomes and if this list never changed, our work might be easy (or at least easier!). But we are preparing students to be changemakers in an ever-changing world. The knowledge, mindsets, and abilities that will help them to navigate these realities will also change.

We are also working within an evolving education system, where realities and constraints change. Sometimes you work within a framework of institution-wide learning outcomes. Sometimes you are faced with adapting the changemaking language for relevance across disciplines. Sometimes people resist considering outcomes at all.

What our students need, how our institutions work, and what the world requires will change. As we learn more, refine our work, and adapt for broader institutional use, our learning outcomes should evolve.

It’s important to keep sight of core changemaking learning outcomes. But in a changing world, developing changemaker learning outcomes will always be an iterative and evolving process.

“But wait!” you may be thinking. “What do these core learning outcomes actually look like? What collaborative process is right for me to use as I develop my own course or program learning outcomes? What are the examples of how other people have iterated their outcomes?”

These are all questions that we want to address in our upcoming knowledge product focused on learning outcomes which we invite you to help us with.

Over the next six months, we will develop a resource analyzing trends in changemaking learning outcomes and highlight examples of the competencies leaders have developed. Our first step is to collect and conduct an analysis of existing learning outcomes.  We are interested in curricular and co-curricular learning outcomes designed for single courses, course sequences, venture incubators, fellowships, changemaker leadership programming, or other social entrepreneurship, social innovation, or changemaker offerings.

Click here to submit your learning outcomes for consideration.

Ashoka U will collect submissions through February 12th.

We’ve already learned so much from all of your thoughtful, innovative efforts to devise learning outcomes. We’re excited to help facilitate this process of learning and sharing so we can take important steps in building the field of changemaker education and increase the collective impact we have on millions of students.

 

Hattie Duplechain is the knowledge and evaluation lead at Ashoka U.  In addition to her work on trends in changemaker learning outcomes, Hattie also produced Ashoka U’s first impact report and is exploring how Ashoka global can more effectively partner with academic researchers. Follow her work on LinkedIn.