“Many teachers commonly use assessment as the starting point of their teaching activities because they believe that assessment drives learning and teaching activities.” Using these practices can potentially detract from promoting effective, efficient and engaging learning. (p. 300) Referencing the K-12 learning environment in New York State public schools, it is often said that teachers, “teach to the test.” The learning that happens is very focused on core curriculum standards and this is what they must teach. Students learn in somewhat of a boxed environment that this is the information that they must know, and how it applies to this situation.
In a traditional college setting, there is a little more openness in instruction. Yet, there is assessments still drive learning and teaching activities. In learner-centered environments, such as with Empire State College, instructors act as facilitators of the course, and learners explore the content and find ways to apply that to the world around them. When attention is paid to the design of the learning experience, the benefits to the student are much greater. “Learning is a personal and also a social process.” (p. 301) There is more of a freedom in learning. Only the learning experiences of learners is able to be designed, not the learning itself. With a carefully designed course, that engages students, learners have the ability to learn not only from the instruction set forth, but from each other through engagement and interaction with each other. This has been one of the greatest strengths and benefits I have found in the adult learning and online courses.
Naidu, S. Afterword: Learning-Centered Focus to Assessment Practices. (2009). In Lajbcygier, P., & Spratt C., E-learning technologies and evidence-based assessment approaches. Hershey: Information Science Reference