Trying Something New? Seven Things that Boost Success Rates

So, the fall semester is about to begin and you’ve decided to try something new in one or more of your courses. Maybe it’s a different quizzing strategy, a revised assignment, or a new group activity. Or perhaps you read about a note-taking technique or exam review strategy that you want to try. You want it to work—you want to make learning better for most students (hopefully better for everyone, but there’s value in being realistic). Here are some things you can do to increase the chance of success when you roll out something new in your courses.
Plan for it carefully – Don’t just up and do it because you think it sounds like a cool idea. Start a bit more objectively by exploring questions such as these: Which of your learning goals is it best equipped to accomplish? Should you be trying it in all of your courses, or does it fit better in certain ones? At what point in the course should it be implemented? What logistical decisions need to be made before you implement the activity? How will you assess its impact?
Modify, adapt, and alter – Don’t plan to do it exactly the same way as the person you learned it from. The new approach needs to work with the kind of content you teach, the kind of students in your courses, and the kind of teaching you do. When it worked for …