Limitless Paper in a Paperless World

My Teen Servsafe project was actually several years long and involved several clients.  The problem being addressed by my project was changing the audience focus for the Servsafe sanitation credentialing curriculum from the National Restaurant Association from adult hospitality managers to teen high school culinary students. Getting more students to pass the credentialing exam has been discussed whenever two high school culinary teachers are in the same room at the same time but it wasn’t until this semester that I finally looked at the problem from a design perspective.

The original curriculum is designed to refresh knowledgeable managers on the details they need to know, crammed into as few as 8 hours of training – classic “teach to the test” with a predictable lack of success and lack of long term knowledge recall for our target audience.  We have all tried many different tactics over the years but one thing that hasn’t changed is that students who are motivated and care about the outcome will most likely pass.  After my semester in this class I have come to some conclusions about how to better get our learners motivated for more successful outcomes.

Something that didn’t work as intended but was still included in the design was the end of chapter competitive timed quizzes.  There are many aspects of this product that are useful from a cognitive and motivational perspective – plus they’re kind of fun but we weren’t using them correctly.  They were used as pretests and study material rather than assessments and were given too much time and emphasis.  Much like studying test questions over and over they were ineffective in that role, but with the granularity of the assessment they are useful for differentiated remediation and thus took their rightful place as summative assessments for each chapter and then all together as summative assessment at the end of the course.  In fact I will probably convert the 10 chapter quizzes into one large assessment.

The vocabulary unit in was inspired by a client that has success placing greater emphasis on vocabulary in her class.  While her audience is not precisely in line with other schools because her students are more interested in going into the industry than the average school, her back-to-basics approach probably has a hand in her high pass rate as well.  The advantage of the Cerego platform is that it provides the emphasis and practice on the vocabulary in a cognitively useful way with no prior knowledge needed from the instructor and easily understandable feedback to the learner as to their progress.

Overall I’m excited that I’ve been able to offer this instructional package to the other culinary instructors in Virginia and look forward to getting their feedback and evaluations from their implementations and plowing that back into the analysis, design and development.  Not only will the process lead to better instruction but also help to build connections and collaboration to a segment of secondary teachers that are usually the only teacher of their subject in the district, often not the most technologically comfortable and as a result not well networked.  Considering even refrigerators are connected now, this is something that needs to be addressed.


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