April 17th, 2017
Ignatius Saw It First: Learning Objectives
Gearing up for a presentation that I designed for a national student leadership conference at the University of Delaware this past summer, I decided to seek advice from our institution’s advisor as most students preparing for something like this would. After crafting the learning objectives of the program, I was met with the comment that “having learning objectives is very Ignatian.” Because I attend a Jesuit University (Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California), these words were music to my ears; I had subconsciously began to incorporate components of our rich educational tradition into my work. However, after bragging to my peers as to how “Ignatian” the opening of my presentation was, I never truly understood why. I have since set out to discover why establishing learning objectives is considered to be “Ignatian.”
My advisor who told me this almost a year ago used to be a Jesuit, which means he was a member of the Society of Jesus. In order to begin my research, I decided to follow-up with him and ask him what he originally meant by that. My advisor, Dino Entac, explained that “it’s Ignatian because knowing what our end goal in learning is, before we start the education process, is a part of the Ignatian Pedagogy – tell them what we are going to teach them, teach them, and then review what we just taught them.” The Jesuit Institute defines the Ignatian Pedagogy as “the way in which teachers accompany learners in their growth and development.” Father Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. describes his goals for a hoped-for graduate of a Jesuit school: “a full and deeper formation of the human person, an educational process of formation that calls for excellence (a striving to excel, to achieve one’s potential) that encompasses the intellectual, the academic and more.”
The information from the Ignatian Pedagogy coupled with the views of Father Kolvenbach has assisted me in attaining a greater understanding of the intentionality of learning outcomes behind the Ignatian learning process; the result of the learning process should be the advancement of the education of the whole person. When students are able to articulate what they have learned, they become contemplatives in action; this means they are able to focus on their decision-making skills, practice a high level of discernment, and “go forth and set the world on fire” like St. Ignatius of Loyola calls for. The incorporation of learning objectives at the beginning of the learning process helps the audience to understand what they will be gaining so that they can fulfill this learning process to the best of their abilities. Again, this is the conclusion that my advisor, Dino, was trying to help me arrive at from the very beginning. As a #JesuitEducated management major in a training and development class that focuses heavily on addressing learning outcomes, this relationship definitely resonates with me. Are learning outcomes very “Ignatian?” I would definitely say so.