Deep Learning at LDSBC
Deep Learning in Practice: An Interview with Leslie Robbins, LDSBC Instructor of Business 160
By President Bruce C. Kusch
We often speak at the college of “days never to be forgotten,” and we are certainly in midst of them. It is the blessing of a lifetime to be here, and we are grateful every day for the privilege.
You might be asking, “So what’s new at the business college?” I’d like to share a few things I’m very excited about. First, we have a new mission statement. With the enthusiastic support and approval from the board of trustees last fall, the mission statement of LDS Business College was officially changed. The new statement reads, “The school’s mission is to develop capable and trusted disciples of Jesus Christ.” It’s brief, it’s memorable, and we believe it’s powerful. It says everything about what we’re trying to accomplish with our students each and every day, and we see it happening. We see it happening as we hear students talk about their experiences and how their lives are being changed. As they change, they discover they can accomplish more than they ever thought possible.
DEEP LEARNING FRAMEWORK
One of the new things I am most excited about at the college is our deep learning framework. This is how learning and teaching happen at the college. We have had great success using this model in a few prototype classes and are expanding the principles into more classes each semester. Recently, we’ve expanded our learning pattern to include what we call our “4-I” framework of design. Our Business 160: Leadership for Life class is a prime example of this framework and the learning that can come from it. On the next page there is a wonderful interview with Sister Leslie Robbins, a professor here at the college who has been instrumental in teaching this class. As you’ll see from the student insights, it has been powerful and transformative. Every student I’ve spoken with about this class has told me, “I don’t want to learn any other way.” Many of these students thought they knew what it meant to be a leader because they had had previous experiences in their lives that made them think they’d done it before. But what they came to understand, I believe, is that leadership is more about becoming something than about doing something.
The four Is are as follows: immersive, integrated, interactive, and iterative. By immersive, we mean creating environments where we immerse students in real-world things. We want each of our classes to integrate required technical skills with difference-making soft skills. Because we want our students to be interactive, we require as much interaction between students and employers as possible. Our last I is iterative, meaning each class will consist of much more than one or two tests each semester that determine the final grade. Instead, we are requiring deep learning that is line upon line, precept upon precept, helping students demonstrate their mastery of the material.
MAKING STUDENTS CAPABLE
We’re very excited about the things happening in our students’ lives. Each year, when employers are surveyed nationwide, they say that students can’t speak well, write well, or work in teams. They also say they don’t know how to solve problems, may not have all the technical skills needed, and are not very good at leadership. We are focused on these capabilities and integrating these technical skills into our classes. We are introducing this close integration of things as a campus-wide initiative to make sure these skills are part of the very fabric and DNA of the institution.
This is all with the intent of fulfilling our mission to develop capable and trusted disciples of Jesus Christ. That is really what we are all about. We go through this deep learning process, and if we are willing to submit to where the Spirit leads, the Lord changes us and we become more like Him.
I will conclude by simply saying thank you. A large percentage of our students receive some form of financial aid to help them with their education and would not be able to attend LDS Business College without it. This is frankly vital in the work that we do. It enables students from all over the world to come and have an opportunity to be educated in a powerful and meaningful way. I bear you my witness that LDS Business College is one of the Savior’s schools. He loves it, and He knows it and its students personally.