Categories for Fink

Fink groups significant learning into six major types. Using these categories you can analyze your current learning outcomes to determine if there are categories of significant learning that are either over or under represented in your course.

Fink groups significant learning: foundational knowledge; application; integration; human dimension; caring; and learning how to learn.

Adapted from Fink 2013.

Foundational Knowledge
Students’ ability to remember and understand information. Other kinds of learning will build off of this base.

Learning a new action, whether a new skill, way of thinking or how to manage projects.

Making connections between ideas, learning experiences or from one area of life to another. These are often the deeper underlying rules or processes that connect what may at first appear to be disconnected phenomena.

Human Dimension
Learning about yourself and others. This may mean how the material applies to students and those around them, how accomplishing a task or difficult project might reflect on the student (self-image), or what these accomplishments might mean for their future goals (self-ideal).

Developing interest or value for the topic within students. If you’ve chosen a topic to teach because it’s important, often you will want students to develop the same appreciation you’ve realized.

Learning How to Learn
While students learn specific content in your course, you also want them to get better at the process of learning as well. This means not only becoming more efficient at learning but becoming self-directed so that students can continue learning beyond the course.  

A few things to note about these categories.

  • Interactive
    Learning goals may overlap or build off of each other. For example, as a student learns more about how the topic applies to their community (human dimension) they may also learn to appreciate the topic itself (caring).
  • Variety
    Because of this interactive nature, try to include as many of the different topics as you can and think of them less as opportunity costs, but that improvement in one area will increase learning in the other.