The roots of the CSLE can be traced back to the 90’s in the work and research on Inquisitivism. While the fundamental ideas for the CSLE began to take shape in the early 2000s, the formal name Creating Significant Learning Environments (CSLE) was first used in a series of workshops in 2009 in the context of adding and expanding the notion of the learning environment in Dee Fink’s Creating Significant Learning Experiences. Fink’s approach and book focused on his experiences as a classroom teacher in the late 1990’s and then as the Director of a Center for Teaching and Learning. Adding significant experiences to the traditional classroom through Fink’s Taxonomy and 3 column table approach was an effective way to introduce backward design and constructivist learning principles to the classroom experience. While Fink did allow for some aspects of a broader perspective in his situational factors assessment of the classroom we found it was necessary to expand the situational factors to the more encompassing environmental factors because of the shift to online learning that began in the mid-1990s. With the explosive growth of the internet and the subsequent growth of online learning and then the addition of mobile and blended learning the importance of creating a significant learning environment that takes into account the all the factors of the learning environment beyond the confines of the classroom is even more important today.
We believe that it is important to more than talk the constructivist talk and actually walk the constructivist walk. This notion of walking that talk has been a priority in the earliest learning environments and online courses that were created back in the mid-1990’s. As a result, creating learning environments in which the learners are given choice, ownership, and voice through authentic learning opportunities has been a consistent focus since that first online course was created in 1995. Since this first online course, elements of what we now refer to as the CSLE+COVA approach has found its way into all the face2face, online, mobile, and blended courses a well as workshops and related professional development activities that we have been involved in over the past two decades. The Digital Learning and Leading program at Lamar University is simply the most recent instance where we have moved beyond the constructivist rhetoric by a creating significant learning environment in which we give learners choice, ownership, and voice through authentic learning opportunities.
To better understand the CSLE+COVA vs Traditional table comparisons in the video please take a few moments to review the full tables and explanations found at: