Mixing up the rubrics

People who take things literally think as class has to be evaluated by rubrics for classroom education. To their way of thinking, there's no point in evaluating a course design as a forest, amusement park or boat ride. In their frame of mind of utilizing a rubric taken at face value, it's not even conceivable how to evaluate a forest. Our left brains not only takes things literally, they compartmentalize everything. An instructional design must have nothing to do with resilient ecosystems, thrilling adventure rides or floating in a wide range of possible directions.

Just as coming up with a design calls for creativity, so does the evaluation of different design alternatives, combinations and improvements. Once we're utilizing our right brains creatively, we not only can consider how to evaluate a forest, we can utilize those frames of reference to size up a class. Mixing up the rubrics like that delivers better insights into a design possibility and more ways to upgrade the design itself.

Here's some possibilities to get you thinking about mixing up the rubrics for the evaluation of instructional designs:

What if the course design provides a business model? How well does the instructional design deliver what has been sold? How satisfied are the customers with what they bought? How consistent and reliable are their purchases when they get used by the customers? In what circumstances do the customers experience the value of what they bought? What word of mouth advertising will the customers give others who seem interested in their purchase?

What if the course design organizes a community? How well do the participants get to know each other? How committed do the learners get toward helping each other through difficulties? How much do the members of the community do to cultivate mutual respect, high levels of trust and compassion for each other? How does the sense of purpose within the community deepen as they accomplish results together?

What if the course design functions as a multi-player game? How many levels can be reached by mastering the challenges in the course? What obstacles require collaborative efforts to conquer adequately? What avenues are open to execute a flawed strategy and pay a penalty? What momentum can be built up by successive victories, conquests or progress? How has balanced been achieved that steers clear of making the game too easy/obvious and too difficult/subtle?

Perhaps these alternative rubrics give you a sense of their potential impact. Instructional designs could become more creative. There would be more learner-engagement by captivating their imaginations, sense of adventure and curiosity. The learners would feel more support, validation and encouragement from the interactions. The course would pose some mystery and suspense rather than be blatantly straightforward and boring. The take-away value would transcend compliance with the learning objectives. Retention would exceed baseline measures. Upgrading the evaluation schema could deliver better designs in the end.

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