Learning That Matters
A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education
Published: December 2020
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Published: December 2020
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Published: January 2021

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Published: January 2021
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7" x 10"
Language: English

A 2022 SPE Outstanding Book Honorable Mention

Our society urgently needs education that motivates, challenges, engages, and affirms all students. No matter their previous successes or failures, every student has enormous learning potential and important contributions to make now and in the future. Such meaningful learning experiences don't just happen, they need to be intentionally designed. This book supports those who will undertake this vitally important work. Learning that Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education is a pragmatic resource for designing courses that engage college students as active citizens. This "work" book provides research-informed approaches for creating learning experiences and developing innovative, intellectually-engaging courses. Whether a novice or a veteran, by engaging with the text, collaborating with colleagues, and reflecting on the important work of a teacher, any motivated educator can become a transformative educator. Every college course has the potential to transform students' lives. Through implementation of critical concepts such as connected and authentic assessments; dilemmas, issues, and questions; portable thinking skills and engaging strategies; and a purposeful focus on inclusivity and equity, readers begin the process of change needed for preparing students who will be able to address the monumental challenges facing our society.

Click HERE to watch the book launch.

Click HERE to hear the authors discuss their book.

Perfect for courses such as: Education Curriculum and Instruction | Design for Transformative Learning | An Introduction to Evidence-based Undergraduate Teaching | New Faculty Orientations | Freshman Seminar Faculty Trainings | Center for Teaching & Learning | Workshops in Course Design

Table of Contents:



1. Teaching Matters

2. From the Foundation Up

3. Design Matters

4. Portable Outcomes

5. The Dilemma, Issue, or Question Approach

6. Connected Assessment

7. The Power of Projects

8. Strategies That Matter

9. Supporting Students

10. Your Turn: Self- and Collective Efficacy

About the Authors


Reviews & Endorsements:

Learning That Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education is a must-have text for new faculty and experienced faculty alike. From the personal stories from the authors’ own experiences to the connection to educational research, this text should be on the desk of all faculty in higher education.” (Full review available at Teachers College Record, August 2022.)

Excerpt of Teachers College Record--August 2022 review by Jennifer R. Meadows, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction, Tennessee Tech University

“Bold and empowering! A compelling guide on learning-centered teaching that demands a shift from status-quo…from deep-seated, colonized practices that have long infected the professoriate and crippled success by generations of students. If you seek powerful forms of inquiry through capacious issues that matter, this book is for you. If you desire evidence-based strategies to bring coherence to each student’s learning, this guide is crucial to that goal. If you seek insight into a liberated academy…rooted in democracy and equity to activate meaning-making by all students, this guide is a fresh glimpse into provocative possibilities for higher education.”

Rosalie A. Richards, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Faculty Development, Stetson University

“Designing and facilitating learning experiences is an essential part of the work of faculty throughout higher education. In Learning That Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education, readers are gifted with abundant opportunities to reflect on our teaching and ample guidance for taking action on what we discover through the process. Designed to be used either as a group or by an individual, this resource charts a path for taking sound educational theory and turning it into practice in our pedagogy. The authors have embedded equity and social justice throughout each page of this important book. They have given us ways to be more intentional in aligning our instructional design with our values.”

Bonni Stachowiak, Dean of Teaching and Learning at Vanguard University, Host of the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast

“Recent events have thrown into sharp relief the inequities that exist in education. We, who care about our students’ learning, may not be able to wait for those in leadership positions to make critically-needed changes to higher education. But educators can start where the learning happens and let necessary changes rise from there. This book can help you walk that path and be that change. This book gathers key topics and takes an accessible, practical approach to implementing impactful, meaningful change in your teaching. You can apply the concepts and exercises to a whole course design or re-design or focus on a module. You can approach this book by reading it from the beginning to the end, or you can jump to specific sections when those principles apply to the acute challenges you are facing. This book is applicable to educators of all levels and all disciplines and at all stages of their careers—as long as they share the goal of improving teaching and learning. You will feel inspired, invigorated, and motivated, and you will feel empowered to make an impact.”

Melinda Maris, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, National Institutes of Health

“The succinct and compelling chapters of Learning That Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education provide a taxonomy of the well-designed learning experience for students. Readers may benefit from a sequential reading of chapters or simply dip into the guide at any place for conversation starters, tips, and evidence-based strategies. These authors presented at the annual institute that my teaching center organized at Emory’s Oxford College, and I have followed them most recently in a new position at the University System of Georgia, the Board of Regents. Strong thanks to them for furthering the noble and aspirational work, aligned with the social justice work at Emory, which ultimately translates to one fundamental idea: all means all. Our goal is to successfully deepen the learning of all the students in our courses. This book makes that goal achievable.”

Jeffery Galle, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University System of Georgia, Board of Regents

Learning That Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education is an important toolbox for all of us in higher education who strive to help students engage in deep and meaningful learning. This practical guide is chocked full of useful content, supplemented by author experiences. It also includes suggestions for activities as well as reflections on teaching and learning. It’s a great resource for aspiring, new, and seasoned college and university faculty.”

Claire Major, Professor of Higher Education, The University of Alabama