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Learning Model encourages excellence at BYU-I

The BYU-Idaho Learning Model was created to facilitate greater learning and make students responsible for their own education, according to the Learning Model Web page.

There are three steps to the Learning Model that students and faculty are expected to use: prepare, teach one another and ponder and prove, according to the Learning Model Overview.

Students are expected to prepare before each class, and many professors expect students to do course readings before coming to class.

“Always come to class prepared to be taught and to teach,” said Kim B. Clark, 15th president of BYU-I, in a 2006 devotional address. “Think about what you have done to be ready to explain what you have learned and what you think.”

In order for students to effectively learn and teach, they must prepare appropriately, according to the Overview.

The instructor’s role in preparation is to design, guide and aid learning, but the work is done by the student, according to the Overview.

Being prepared when coming to class allows for better classroom discussion and deeper learning, according to the Overview.

Students are asked to prepare so they can adequately teach one another.

“The challenge before us is to create even more powerful and effective learning experiences in which students have opportunities to take action (…) where prepared students, exercising faith, step out beyond the light they already possess, to speak, to contribute and to teach one another,” President Clark said in his Inaugural Response. “It is in that moment that the Spirit teaches.”

Students are asked to teach one another to allow students to act on their own accord and to be responsible for the success or failure in learning among students and their peers, according to the Overview.

“Never, and I mean never, give a lecture where there is no student participation,” said Elder Richard G. Scott of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Assure that there is abundant participation, because that use of agency by a student authorizes the Holy Ghost to instruct.”

Some instructors may be hesitant to allow students to teach one another because information can be repeated, structure can be lost and students can miss major points that the class needs to learn. Professors should prayerfully seek council and guide class discussion to avoid these pitfalls, according to the Overview.

“A faculty member should be the engineer, the designer, the architect of the learning experiences,” said President David A. Bednar in a Q&A at BYU-I in 2004.

After class, students are given activities and experiences that allow them to ponder and prove their learning.

“As I pondered over these things (…) the eyes of my understanding were opened,” according to the Doctrine and Covenants 138:11.

Ponder and Prove allows for students to consolidate what they have learned and prepare for more information, according to the Overview.

Pondering promotes retention and allows students to be led by the spirit. It gives students the chance to relate new information with old, promoting memory, according to the Overview.

Students may be asked to prove learning through quizzes, tests and giving feedback to the instructor. This can help students know how much they understood the material and make corrections as necessary.

“Practicing these principles tells Heavenly Father that I care about more than just grades,” said Sherilynne Bass, a senior studying child development. “It allows the Spirit to teach me more than what is being said or read. God can inspire me to really love and find purpose in what I am studying.”

President Clark enacted this model and promoted it throughout his time at BYU-I.

“Inspired learning and teaching is the symbolic keystone to the overall campus experience,” President Clark said in an all-employee meeting in 2007. “It brings discipleship preparation and leadership development together in one great whole.”

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