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Learning Targets: How Do Students Work With Them?



This article provides a basic explanation for how Students should understand Learning Targets and how to work with them in Foundry.




What are Learning Targets?

Why we use Targets

How Targets work in Foundry

Targets in the Experience Plan

Targets on the Performance Page



What are Learning Targets?

Your school may call them something else, but you're probably already familiar with what we mean. A learning target is a concrete goal written in student-friendly language. It describes what you should expect to learn and be able to do by the end of the lesson, class, unit, project, course, etc. 

Some schools call them targets, but other words for them might be competencies, goals, objectives, skills, or outcomes. They are often written with action verbs, and often start with something like, 'Students will be able to...' or 'I can...' - so you can always know what you're supposed to be able to do at the end.

If you are a learner at a building site (like a school building), you may see your learning targets posted on the board, or listed at the beginning of an assignment. If you're an online learner, the software you are working with will generally show the learning targets you're working on as well, or describe them.

Learning targets are not only for 'content,' like Math, Science, or Language, Art, or Physical Education. They also describe goals in Communication, Independence, Preparation, or Personal Relationships.


Why do we use them?

Up until the late 20th century (the 1980's and 1990's), students were mainly measured against each other. That means that instead of focusing mainly on your learning growth, schools gave grades based on how well your score compared to other students.

Eventually, teachers and researchers recognized that focusing on individual growth was better than ranking students. They also started to see that sometimes, real-world learning doesn't fit neatly into just one subject or another.

As schools began to adopt more project-based learning and other new ideas, it got more complicated.

Example: If you do research on geography and population change, that sounds like 'Social Studies.' But if, like a professional geographer, you include a lot of statistics, should you get credit only for Social Studies? That's a lot of math work for no learning credit!


Using learning targets helps measure learning in more than one subject at a time. It also helps measure growth over time. Foundry helps teachers keep track of which ones you've done and which ones you have left.


How Learning Targets Work in Foundry

Your school has many targets in its Learning Target Set. You might have one or more Learning Plans that include those targets and the credits you will earn (if your organization uses credits) while mastering them.

If you're in the middle of Freshman year (to use a common American example), you may have a learning plan that says which learning targets you need to master to move on to Sophomore year.

You may also have a 'graduation plan' - what you need to master to apply to college or look for a good-paying job. As you finish the Freshman year requirements, you're also finishing your graduation requirements - but Foundry helps you track your progress in both at the same time.

Your school might have a different setup, where you complete content or skills 'Backpacks' instead of grade levels. You might be working on a Level 1 backpack for Math but a Level 3 backpack for Language Arts. Foundry helps you and your teachers track your progress in each Backpack.

You might not be asked to pay much attention to which specific targets you're working on - maybe your class just works on the material and then takes a test to measure what you've learned. You may be in a program that gives you more choice about the types of projects you want to work on, even picking some or all of the learning targets you plan to master in doing the work. Either way, you'll be able to see your learning targets in a few places. The two main ways to see them are in the Learning Experience Plan and on the Performance Page.


Experience Plan

Learning Targets required by your plan appear when you or your advisor create a learning experience. The chooser shows required targets, including the number of times you need to show your learning on a target:


In the image above, the student is working on creating a new learning experience. The '10th Grade Plan' is selected (the blue rectangle). The student chooses Math as the subject (left column) and Geometry as the subject group (middle column). The reddish-orange highlighting shows that the target is required, and the [1] shows how many more times the student still has to earn the target. The full target description is in the box at right.



Performance Page

The same targets and descriptions show up on your Performance Page. When you click the target button PP-targets-selected.png, you'll see all the targets you're working on. Click on a target name in the left column to see the full description:

Screen_Shot_2020-12-28_at_3.18.03_PM.png You can see which targets you have completed (and the level at which you completed them), which targets you're currently working on, and which ones you haven't yet started.

As you start working on your learning targets and complete them, you'll see a pie chart that shows your progress toward finishing your Learning Plan. It looks like this:


You can read more about using the Performance Page here.



Suggested Reading:

Note: Articles linked here under "Suggested Reading" are chosen by Foundry Support team members for their relevance and are updated as needed. The articles listed here may differ from those on the right side of the page, where the Knowledge Base AI lists "Related Articles." 


Learning Plans: an Introduction

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