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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

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April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Reimagining the College Success Course for the 21st Century: The Intersection of Instruction, Metacognition, and Mindset

Jeffrey Hall (Ashford University, USA)
Additional Authors
Debby Hailwood (Ashford University, USA)
Julie Nideffer (Ashford University, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 1:45pm
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Theory/Conceptual Framework
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Discovery Session
Atlantic Hall
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Discovery Session 1

This presentation examines three conceptual frameworks underpinning an empowering student success course for new online learners. Application of these concepts in the classroom is provided.

Extended Abstract

Too many college success courses are stuck in the 20th century and built upon outdated research on Learning Styles (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2008), inundating students with generic study strategies that are not tailored to individual learning processes. In order to equip students with the intentional learning skills needed to succeed in the 21st century, learning needs to be personal and supported by integrating research that encompasses the entire learning environment.

At Ashford University, we've re-imagined the college success course for the 21st century online, adult learner. The goal of the course is to develop intentional learners and is based on the belief that learning is a personal, individual, and interactive process. Through the process of self-assessment and reflective practice, students have the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of how they learn, and use that understanding to develop effective strategies for success in the workplace, classroom, and everyday life.

When designing this course, we've integrated three theoretical frameworks to increase confidence, promote self-awareness, and inspire a growth mindset in each student. These conceptual frameworks are described below:
1. Let Me Learn (Johnston, 2010) is an advanced learning system that guides students toward discovering their personal learning processes then invites the learner to use these processes intentionally by developing personal learning tools and skills.
2. Rendon's Validation Theory (Rendon, 1994) recognizes that non-traditional, first generation, underrepresented learners have different needs than traditional middle class college students. This theory emphasizes the institution's responsibility to instill a sense of confidence and empowerment in this population of learners.
3. Dweck's concepts of Mindset (Dweck, 2000) explains that the view a student has of his or her intelligence affects the way that individual approaches challenging tasks. For new students, this could make a difference between persisting through difficult schoolwork or feeling self-defeated and frustrated.

This presentation will introduce participants to each of these concepts and examples of how we integrate them into a rewarding student success course will be shared. Participants will engage in web-based interactive question and answer sessions and reflective practices. It is our aim that participants will walk away with new ideas on how to enhance or revive the student success courses at their institutions.


Dweck, C. S. (2000). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Psychology Press.

Johnston, C. A. (2010). Finding your way: Navigating life by understanding your learning self. Let Me Learn Incorporated.

Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles concepts and evidence. Psychological science in the public interest, 9(3), 105-119.

Rendon, L. I. (1994). Validating culturally diverse students: Toward a new model of learning and student development. Innovative higher education, 19(1), 33-51.