1st Edition

Facilitating the Integration of Learning Five Research-Based Practices to Help College Students Connect Learning Across Disciplines and Lived Experience

By James P. Barber Copyright 2020
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    Students’ ability to integrate learning across contexts is a critical outcome for higher education. Often the most powerful learning experiences that students report from their college years are those that prompt integration of learning, yet it remains an outcome that few educators explicitly work towards or specify as a course objective. Given that students will be more successful in college (and in life) if they can integrate their learning, James Barber offers a guide for college educators on how to promote students’ integration of learning, and help them connect knowledge and insights across contexts, whether in-class or out-of-class, in co-curricular activities, or across courses and disciplinary boundaries. The opening chapters lay the foundation for the book, defining what integration of learning is, how to promote it and students’ capacities for reflection; and introduce the author’s research-based Integration of Learning (IOL) model.The second section of the book provides practical, real-world strategies for facilitating integration of learning that college educators can use right away in multiple learning contexts. James Barber describes practices that readers can integrate as appropriate in their classes or activities, under chapters respectively devoted to Mentoring, Writing as Praxis, Juxtaposition, Hands-On Experiences, and Diversity and Identity. The author concludes by outlining how to apply IOL to a multiplicity of settings, such as a major, a single course, programming for a student organization, or other co-curricular experience; as well as offering guidance on assessing and documenting students’ mastery of this outcome.This book is addressed to a wide range of educators engaged with college student learning, from faculty to student affairs administrators, athletic coaches, internship supervisors, or anyone concerned with student development.

    Foreword—Kate McConnell Acknowledgments Introduction Part One. How Students Integrate Learning and Why They Must 1. False Borders. The Case for Integrated Learning 2. Integration of Learning Model 3. Reflection. The Foundation of Integration Part Two. How You Can Help. Creating Experiences to Facilitate Integration of Learning 4. Practice 1. Mentoring Students 5. Practice 2. Writing as Praxis 6. Practice 3. Encourage Juxtaposition 7. Practice 4. Hands-On Experiences 8. Practice 5. Embrace Diversity and Identity Part Three. How to Make it Stick 9. Creating an Integrative Curriculum 10. Documenting and Assessing Integration of Learning Appendix A. Additional Details on Learning, Development, and Meaning for Those Who Care to Read It Appendix B. Student Examples References Index


    James P. Barber is Senior Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Associate Professor of Education at William & Mary. Dr. Barber is an expert in the areas of college student development (in particular, self-authorship assessment), assessment of student learning and integrative learning. Prior to his faculty appointment, he worked in student affairs administration for nearly a decade, specializing in fraternity and sorority affairs, residence life and student activities. Dr. Barber also has substantial experience with globalization and international education. He has led students on study abroad experiences in the Czech Republic (2011), China (2013, 2016), and Spain (2017, 2019).

    "So great to see James Barber providing practical ideas that educators can use to help students connect what they have learned in one context to its application in new contexts. Bridging the much talked about 'skills gap' may be more about having learners understand how to use what they already know and can do in new ways, than it is about actually learning 'missing' skills. Anything that helps people integrate learning across contexts is a bonus for educators, students and employers!"

    N. Johnston, PhD, President

    World Association for Co-operative and Work Integrated Education

    "Facilitating the Integration of Learning provides invaluable information for educators. Barber adeptly uses findings from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education to illuminate practices that support students' abilities to integrate of learning in a multitude of contexts. Rather than dictating how to engage in these practices, Barber provides readers with the tools to reflect upon, design, and assess educational experiences that promote integration of learning. It is a must read for college educators."

    Rosemary J. Perez, Assistant Professor, School of Education

    Iowa State University

    “Integrative learning could be one of the most promising hallmarks of a quality higher education as we prepare students to address complex and novel challenges in society. By calling out the false borders that currently limit curricular approaches, Barber has issued a call to action for the entire campus community to embrace their role in facilitating student learning. College educators will appreciate the practical model of integrative learning, and will benefit from having the tools they need to break down borders and help students bring together what they know and can do, regardless where the learning happened.”

    Amber Garrison Duncan, PhD, Strategy Director

    Lumina Foundation

    "James Barber’s Facilitating the Integration of Learning: Five Research-based Practices to Help College Students Connect Learning across Disciplines and Lived Experiences is one of the few books that delivers more than its title promises. The middle section of the book, chapters 4-8, does what the title describes: it offers five practices educators can implement to help college students integrate their learning. However, the book goes beyond that in two ways. First, Barber adds an informative and in-depth discussion of integrative learning in the first section of the book. Second, he examines ways to assure that integrative learning is a central feature of the student experience, considering both how to create an integrative curriculum and how to document and assess integrative learning as part of a broader effort of iterative improvement.

    In summary, Barber’s book provides a wonderful opening into a robust consideration of how individual faculty and other educators can facilitate students’ integration of their learning. The book balances solid foundational considerations with practical tips and tools that are easy to implement."

    Elon Center for Engaged Learning Book Review