What are the Skills for Life?

Critical Thinking

To challenge students to think critically, instructors need to skillfully craft critical thinking questions. Process learning activity design involves asking a variety of different types of questions ranging from directed to convergent to divergent, with each question driving the team to use higher level thinking skills to come up with an effective answer. Most activities begin with directed questions which team members can answer definitively with a strong level of confidence. Next the convergent questions require the team members to come to a consensus. Finally, the divergent questions take the team into a number of different directions.

Problem Solving

Some of the highest quality solutions come from team-based problem solving. In process learning, team members work together to solve problems. Ultimately each team understands that problem solving is a methodology that links back into the process learning process. This skill, as with all the skills for life, is immediately transferable.

Communication

Another transferable life skill is communication. When working together to solve a problem, team members communicate through nonverbal, verbal, and written form. In addition, after working together on the problem, the team communicates its solution to others via a presentation, report, debate, or other media.

Teamwork

Through teamwork, the rate of learning is greatly increased. Some studies have shown a range of 50 - 125 percent increase in the rate of learning using cooperative, team-based learning. Rotating team roles helps to ensure a development experience for the individual as well as the team. This also provides the reluctant participant with a clear purpose and understanding of his/her contribution to the team.

Assessment

As the process learner moves toward the goal of continuous process improvement, the role of self-assessment increases in importance. Not only must the instructor use real time assessment techniques in class, but students must be held accountable for self-assessment and peer-assessment as well.

Examples of Lifelong Skill Development at Sinclair

Sinclair's work in General Education provides an excellent example of how we can launch, develop and measure effectiveness on a college-wide base. The development of better thinkers, better writers, better communicators has been addressed across the curriculum by a number of Sinclair faculty.

Another example is Sinclair's college-wide assessment program that has led to the development, validation, and measurement of program outcomes. These assessment skills are fundamental to the learning process and lifelong learning capabilities of Sinclair students and Sinclair itself.

Examples in Industry and at Sinclair

Many examples of high performance work teams exist in industry today. At Sinclair several work groups have participated in high performance team training to maximize the team's process and product. Sinclair's team training efforts demonstrate the belief that team performance can be improved.

Seamless Learning

Lifelong learning, i.e. life skills development, helps students seamlessly transfer from one learning institution (Sinclair) to the next learning institution (or their workplace) and beyond. When our students become self-growers, they will self-assess and continuously improve their own learning processes. Process learning systematically addresses the need to develop self-growers (lifelong learners).