The concept of formation is at the heart of an education dedicated to shaping students to be fully human, to cultivating their authentic selves, and to inhabiting a sense of personal responsibility for improving the world.
The Formation by Design Project is a learner-centered and evidence-centered approach to reinventing our institutions around whole person development and doing so in ways that are thoroughly responsive to the emerging learning ecosystem that characterizes this moment in history—the increasingly data-rich environment that, while enabling personalization and customization of learning, at the same time risks de-centering and dis-empowering learners. The Project engages internal and external stakeholders in a process of defining, designing, and measuring formation of the individual within the context of higher education.
Learning—and especially “learner-centered”—analytics hold much promise as a mechanism for integrating qualitative and quantitative measures of formation, as well as visualizing and feeding meaningful data back to stakeholder groups at every level of the educational ecosystem. Formation by Design recognizes that practices of engagement and interaction with formational learner analytics must be developed at three layers for continuous improvement—at the student level, the faculty/designers/program directors level, and at the institutional level.
Of primary importance in this work are the dual goals of empowering students to be in control of their own learning analytics and elevating evidence of the process of integrative, deep learning to higher echelons of institutional decision-making. Providing robust and multiple sources of learning analytics along the whole arc of learning will help achieve the ultimate goal of informing educational designs to best support formation of all of our students.