Authentic Learning with Jan Herrington

I opened one of my Christmas presents early this year form the folks at Change 11.  This week Change 11 was facilitated by an innovative thinker, researcher, and scholar Jan Herrington, who is a Professor in Education at Murdoch University in Perth Western Australia.  The topic of the week was Authentic Learning.

Currently I am facilitating an online grant to help 13 faculty members form  the University of Hawaii Community Colleges develop authentic online learning activities. Our online community is located here.  We have been using the 10 Characteristics of Authentic Learning  as criteria for the activities faculty are creating. This is a new experience for all participants and we find ourselves learning by doing by the “seat of our pants” authentic learning experience in its own right. The thrill of the unexpected and uncovering of new ways to learn helps to maintain an exciting and mostly positive learning environment..

After reading and watching Jan’s post and video’s on the the 9 Elements of Authentic learning we remixed our criteria form both lists and now have 10 Elements of Authentic learning.  We based our revisions on the feedback we have been receiving as participants create their activities.

We have found that faculty struggle creating authentic activities are ill-defined, requiring students to define the tasks and sub-tasks needed to complete the activity. This approach is completely opposite of the traditional way faculty have developed their activities. They are required to have specific objectives for learners to meet. As a result they create highly structure processes that lead to the outcomes. When asked to create ill-defined activities the most common responses are; “that approach may be good for graduate level courses but my students are not ready for this”, and “if the activity is ill-defined how do I know they will do what I want them to do?”

As the project progresses it would be great to have feedback on the activities form other educators who are interested authentic online learning. If you would like to join our community here is the link:

Authentic Online Learning



2 thoughts on “Authentic Learning with Jan Herrington

  1. Greg, what a great site you have – dedicated to supporting your team to create authentic learning environments online. Can we link to it from the Diigo site we are creating for #change11? There are so many great ideas here! I look forward to engaging with you and colleagues in that space as well.


  2. Could you please tell me who the original creator of Authentic learning is and when it came into implementation? My Grad Class group is doing a presentation on Authentic Learning and we are having difficulty finding out this information. It is due Oct. 28th! Thanks!


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