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Peer Review

Guidelines on Learning that Inform Teaching



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 10, 2014 by Faculty Development
Overview: This 22-paged pdf handbook contains sixteen guidelines arranged in the following 6 categories: 1) engaging students in learning; 2) contextualizing students’ learning experiences; 3) creating an inclusive learning and teaching experience; 4) designing an engaging, contextualized, and inclusive curriculum; 5) teaching an engaging, contextualized, and inclusive curriculum. Each guideline includes one or more referenced supporting quotes, followed by a list of additional resources. The handbook is based on “Guidelines for Learning” from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) found here:, which the MIT handbook author gratefully acknowledges. The UNSW Guidelines contain two additional sections within each guideline explaining the “why” and providing ideas for implementation which are not found in the MIT handbook.
Type of Material: This is a downloadable PDF file.
Recommended Uses: This resource can supplement a more interactive course on pedagogy for college instructors. Reading for a course in teaching and learning; independent study; course design or course review consultation.
Technical Requirements: The user requires Internet access and Adobe Acrobat Reader or another PDF reader such as Foxit.
Identify Major Learning Goals: The goal of this resource is to provide information to the reader on sixteen principles of learning that will help them create effective courses of study. The handbook is meant to provide guidelines for the kind of education expected of the MIT teaching community. It would be a useful reference for those wanting to learn about the pedagogical research that undergirds sound teaching and learning principles.
Target Student Population: Instructors, Future faculty, TAs, new faculty developers
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This resource is comprehensive in that it provides a bibliography of valuable resources readers can use to further their research.
Concerns: This resource does not include resources less than ten years old. As well, there are no references from the other learning sciences such as cognitive psychology or neuroscience.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: The references for each guideline are divided into two sections: a) the introductory quotes from fundamental sources, and b) additional references. For the reader who wishes to go further, it is clear what to read first. Professional Development educators can use this resource to supplement a more interactive course of study.
Concerns: While providing excellent references, there is no clear explanation of why each guideline is important or any examples of how it might be successfully implemented. It could be that this information is provided elsewhere for the MIT teaching community.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This file is very easy to use. It is organized into chapters that group the principles into concepts. It is easy to read and written well.
Concerns: Some links need to be updated.