Faculty Focus posted an interesting review today about how students feel that effort should count.
This is an area that I hear very often when working with students. They are able to tell me all about the effort that they put into their work and how much time it has taken them to complete an assignment or learning activity. My response becomes – tell me what you learned through that effort and time.
My job as a professor is to measure learning. What are students learning and are they able to show me that they have learned? I try to show them what I want them to learn and how I will measure their learning. But despite my efforts to show them the tools used to measure and assess learning, effort is still important to them.
I also try to explain to them that if everyone earned an A, there would not be as much value to that grade as if there is a distribution of grades to show that different individuals have learned a varied amount of knowledge during class. This often does not help if they are not the A student. You can provide anything to someone else – I just want the A.
So another avenue that I have tried is talking about effort at work. Effort at work is important but spinning your wheels and not getting results is not going to earn you a raise or promotion. Good work and quality products can help get you much further than just completing activities. Most students agree when looking at a situation from that angle.
But more importantly, how can we move a student from just doing activities, over and over, if that effort is not producing learning? Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results? Try to get them to look at things differently – try different ways of completing something to help them learn. Most importantly, ask questions to get answers to help you learn – don’t put a lot of effort into figuring something out when stuck if you can get an answer to help you move on and continue to learn.
What do you do to encourage and stimulate learning instead of a lot of effort with minimal results?