Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Spotlight on the Mastery Phase - the Anatomy of Mastery Learning Cycles

Flickr // Powazny
 Based on recent questions via twitter after FlipCon14 regarding specifics of Mastery Learning Cycles (MLC), I've decided to write periodic blog posts about the inner workings of this model. This series, the Anatomy of MLC, will spotlight aspects of the model. In this first post, we'll explore the mastery phase.

Recall MLC consists of Explore, Flip, Apply and Mastery phases. More information about the other phases can be found in the initial blog post about MLC or future posts in this series. The Mastery phase is the culminating component of a learning cycle and consists of the following:



  1. Mandatory "hot seat" Discussion - a one-on-one or small group discussion where students are orally "quizzed" to determine whether they are ready to take the unit quizzes.
  2. Mandatory Standards-based Quizzes - randomized Moodle quizzes aligned to specific standards and application level of Bloom's taxonomy. Students can choose to, or be required to, retake the quizzes until they demonstrate proficiency of each standard. Students who fail will be required to complete a metacognition form for each quiz outlining their errors, as well as making corrections. Students can return to earlier phases and/or complete remediation activities before retaking a quiz.
  3. Optional Standards-based Mastery Assignments - higher order thinking assignments which are aligned to Bloom's taxonomy levels of Analysis, Evaluation and Creation. These projects will push the thinking of students and are based on specific standards. Completing the projects will move a student from application (3/4) to mastery (4/4) level.
The implications of this set-up is students can pick and choose which standards they want to demonstrate application or mastery understanding. The thinking here is students are required to be able to apply their learning of all standards but should be able to decide which standards they want to extend their thinking. Some students will be more interested in some standards; some students will find some standards more difficult. An added benefit of this approach in an asynchronous course is having optional assignments gives students an opportunity to catch up to the pace of other students, without loosing core content.