Goal-Driven Learning

Goal-driven learning (GDL) is an active and strategic process in which the learner comes up with a learning goal and then proceeds to identify and satisfy her information and skill needs after considering her prior knowledge, capabilities, and the opportunities for learning in her environment.

At ABI we believe that people learn best when they are exposed to new information and skills in the context of using them. GDL agrees squarely with our educational philosophy.

Goal-driven learning (GDL) is a “learn by doing” style of learning. In GDL, there is typically no homework, labs, tests and exams. Instead, a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) goal is set at the beginning of the course and the student completes that goal and provides concrete evidence of completion.

Students taking GDL courses have to be self-driven and motivated and must be self-starters.

How it works.

Goal – The student comes up with a SMART goal to learn something that will help her accomplish her ministry goals. For example, a student may want to learn Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc. because that is a helpful skill in her ministry environment. A SMART goal will be determined such as the type of designs that the student will be able to do. This process will be supervised by an academic coordinator. In this case, specific kinds of graphic design works will be picked out as examples of the kind and quality of work the student wants to be able to do.

Reality – The student will clearly describe and rate her current skills and abilities in accomplishing the goal described above.

Options and Obstacles – The student will come up with many different options of how to learn and develop the skills needed to achieve her goal.

Winnowing down – The student will narrow down on one or a few approaches that will work well for her to learn the material.

Transformation or Paradigm shift. The student will describe the kind of paradigm shift and growth mindset that she needs to develop to be effective at accomplishing the goal in both the short and long-term.

Helpful capacities and systems and structures. Student and academic coordinator will agree on the materials and resources that the student will be using for the course. She will procure these materials and use as part of her GDL process.

A 3 credit hour online course at ABI requires students to commit 10hrs per week to their studies, making a total of 80 hours over an 8-week period.

In general, of the 80 hours allocated for each 3 credit hour GDL course, 30 hours may be spent on didactics and 50 hours will be spent actually doing and producing something useful that achieves the student’s goals. E.g. in the case of a student who wants to learn graphic design: 30 hours may be spent watching videos or reading articles and book chapters and practicing how to design images, brochures, flyers, posters, magazines, etc. The other 50 hours would be spent actually designing images that will be used by a nonprofit, like Shaping Destiny, that is affiliated with ABI.

Are you interested in taking a goal-directed course at ABI? Contact our admissions office and let them know you would like to take a GDL course and they will match you with an advisor who will help you through the process.