SAIL’s learning framework and tools evolved at Northeastern from decades of research on how people learn. Four concepts are key.
As we develop as learners, we shift from passively absorbing knowledge to reflecting upon what we know, how, and why, and we make choices about the knowledge we value and apply based on our experiences and relationships with others. This idea is central to SAIL’s vision of Northeastern as a community that equips lifelong learners to shape their own future and become ever more capable and agile.
SAIL stresses the importance of deep learning. SAIL also recognizes that the key to becoming an agile learner in today’s complex, changing world is the ability to transfer and apply knowledge acquired in one context to new contexts and situations. Also pivotal to SAIL is the acknowledgment that learning happens everywhere—and that, like the faculty, co-curricular educators play major roles in helping students become more sophisticated thinkers. When everyone uses SAIL’s shared language, learners can practice transferring knowledge gleaned from everyday experiences with ease to the classroom, playing field, and beyond.
A chief aim of SAIL is to enable learners to set goals and drive their own learning. To navigate our complex world, learners must learn to assess a task or goal, take stock of their capabilities, craft a plan, apply a strategy, reflect on the result, adjust their strategy accordingly, and repeat the cycle as needed. SAIL creates an environment that prioritizes self-directed learning and offers tools to support that learning.
Educators know the value of making instructional goals and processes explicit to learners, as well as the challenges. SAIL values the importance of educators and learners making learning goals and processes explicit, so that every experience can be connected to and mined for its learning potential. Research shows that, beyond helping learners acquire content and skills, transparency is powerful for helping students acquire employer-valued skills such as communication and teamwork, and for motivating underrepresented populations to persevere in college.
Learn more about the four concepts:
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King, P. M., & Kitchener, K. S. (1994). Developing reflective judgment: Understanding and promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
King, P. M., & VanHecke, J. R. (2006). Making connections: Using skill theory to recognize how students build and rebuild understanding. About Campus, 2(1), 10–16. doi:10.1002/abc.155
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Zimmerman, B. J., & Schunk, D. H. (Eds.). (2001). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical perspectives (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Explore the general higher education landscape:
Astin, A. W. (1985). Achieving educational excellence. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Astin, A. W. (1993). What matters in college? Four critical years revisited. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Bass, R. (2012). Disrupting ourselves: The problem of learning in higher education. EDUCAUSE Review, 47(2), 23-33.
Brown, J. S., & Adler, R. P. (2008). Minds on fire: Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. EDUCAUSE Review, 43(1), 16-32.
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Kuh, G. D., Schuh, J. H., Whitt, E. J., & Associates. (1991). Involving colleges: Successful approaches to fostering student learning and development outside the classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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