Objective

To report the development and initial testing of a questionnaire designed to assess the concept of learning alignment within chiropractic college courses.

Methods

A 36-item questionnaire, Educator's Learning Alignment Instrument (ELAI), was created to evaluate how learning goals, course activities, and assessments align within a college course. Questionnaire development was informed by learning theories and tested using a 2-phased electronic survey mechanism among a chiropractic college faculty. Phase 1 included completing the ELAI for a currently implemented course. Phase 2 included questions about confidential reports generated from ELAI data.

Results

Thirty-one of 46 (67%) respondents completed an ELAI. Twelve (38%) participated in phase 2. Twenty-one (68%) courses demonstrated consistent learning focus across goals, activities, and assessments. Aggregate data from early, middle, and late chiropractic program courses revealed progressive shifts toward higher-level learning. Eighty-seven percent of courses contained 1 or more individual learning areas with potentially misaligned goals, activities, or assessment. Ninety-seven percent of respondents completed ELAI questions within 20 minutes. Most (87%) phase 2 respondents noted the report accurately reflected the course. Sixty-seven percent of phase 2 respondents agreed that confidential reports provided useful information to inform course design.

Conclusion

The ELAI is a nonburdensome instrument that can facilitate faculty reflection on how aligned learning concepts are applied in a course and provide novel data to assess general learning focus within college courses and within programs. Results indicate ELAI questions can be revised to improve clarity. Additional research comparing ELAI responses from experts, peer educators, and students is recommended.

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Author notes

Robert Vining is the associate dean for clinical research at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (741 Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52803; robert.vining@palmer.edu). Timothy Millard is the Assistant Director of Institutional Research at Radford University Carilion (101 Elm Avenue SE, Roanoke, VA 24013; tmillard@radford.edu). Address correspondence to Robert Vining, 741 Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52803; Robert.vining@palmer.edu. This article was received March 5, 2019, revised June 27, 2019, and accepted August 27, 2019.

Concept development: RV. Design: RV. Supervision: RV, TM. Data collection/processing: RV. Analysis/interpretation: RV, TM. Literature search: RV. Writing: RV, TM. Critical review: RV, TM.