Liberal Arts Education

Categories: EducationScience

Liberal arts education can be described as a holistic approach to education where one majors in a specific subject area but also learns foundational knowledge across several subject areas. The system of education exposes learners to several new ideas from different subjects and hence, the learners’ brains are expanded due to basic knowledge from different subjects such as natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. The approach to education empowers individuals by preparing them to be able to handle complexity, diversity and change.

Students of liberal arts education get to acquire broad knowledge of the wider world such as cultures of different regions around the world, science and other social aspects of societies.

Student also get in-depth study of their areas of interest. Therefore, students of liberal arts educations are considered all-rounded. They have a strong sense of responsibility as well as transferable intellectual and practical skills such as problem solving skills, communication skills, analytical skills, and practical skills in various areas.

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Students of liberal arts education can apply their knowledge and skills in real-world situations. ‘Liberal arts education makes people to appreciate God’s work around the world as it exposes them to different cultures and ways of life’ (Roller, 2013). It makes people to appreciate diversity as they learn about the unique qualities and habits of different regions around the world.

General Education

General education refers to an approach to education that focuses on exposing students to a variety of subjects. In the approach, students in higher learning institutions are subjected to a wide range of subjects from different disciplines.

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The students would then choose one of the many disciplines that they have studied in their earlier days in college as their majors during the later years of their time in institutions of higher learning. Learning from many subjects and disciplines under the general education approach is helpful to students. According Moss, and Brookhart (2019), the approach exposes the students to different options before they can choose their career path. The approach lets students to make their own choices on the subjects that interest them. Students, then, major in areas that interest them most having explored different academic disciplines.

How General Education fits into Liberal Arts Education

General education borrows many of its characteristics from the liberal arts education approach. Liberal arts education is focused on equipping students with a vast array of knowledge from different academic fields. General education improves on liberal arts education by making students to get an in-depth study of one of the discipline areas where one is more interested in building a career. ‘The introduction of the general education approach was informed by the need to prepare students for the needs of the job market’ (Suskie, & Banta, 2009). Whereas the liberal arts education does a good job of expanding the reasoning, analytical and practical skills of an individual, the general education goes a step further to make individuals more knowledgeable in a particular area where they can build a career. The general education approach also gives one several options for choosing where they would wish to specialize. The general education model is more oriented towards preparing students for the contemporary job market.

Role of Assignments in Carrying Out Outcomes Assessment

Assignments play a crucial role in carrying out outcomes assessment. Assignments given to students assess the level of student’s understanding of the content delivered to them. ‘When students score highly in the assignments, it is a demonstration of the effectiveness of the delivery methods used by the teachers or instructors’ (Banta, Palomba, & Kinzie, 2015). Using assignments in outcomes assessments is a good way of involving students in the assessment process. Assignments are closely linked to learning objectives and as such, using the assignments in the assessment of outcomes can play a significant role in assessment of outcomes. Students normally want to perform well in assignments and, therefore, will do their best to perform well. According to Banta, Palomba, and Kinzie, (2015) using assignments in assessment of outcomes will help in measuring the performances of both the teacher in delivering the instruction and the students in understanding instructions.

Role of Activities in Carrying Out Outcomes Assessment

The role of activities in carrying out outcomes assessment at course level cannot be understated. Different learning activities demonstrate the levels of learning that has been realized in a course. As such, activities can be used to assess practical learning outcomes. As in the case of assignments, ‘activities demonstrate the level of understanding course concepts that have been realized’ (Coates, 2015). For instance, when students perform well in an activity, it shows that instructional delivery was effective and students were able to achieve course objectives as expected. On the other hand, poor performance in activities would indicate poor instructional delivery, which would require improvement.

Role of Tasks in Carrying Out Outcomes Assessment

Tasks can play an important role in assessing outcomes. Assessment can be done on task outcomes to evaluate whether the tasks were meaningful for students. According to Kulasegaram, and Rangachari (2018), engaging students in tasks whose meaning they do not understand will lead to underperformance on tasks. Tasks are meant to sharpen certain skills among students. Assessment of task outcomes can help in examining students’ ability to accomplish a task and whether they have mastered the competence that the task is meant to address.

Direct Methods of Assessment

Direct methods of assessment can be used in assessing specific general education outcomes in both residential and distance education courses. ‘For instance, essays can be used to assess students’ ability to communicate through writing in both residential and distance education courses’ (Capsim, 2018). Students are asked to write essays on given topics and the essays are assessed against written communication objectives of general education. Secondly, Oral presentation, as a direct method of assessment can be used to assess students’ competency in oral communication. The method can also be used with both residential and distance education students. ‘Residential students can make their oral presentation in class in front of the assessors who will rate the quality of the presentation based on the oral communication objectives of general education’ (Miller, & Leskes, 2005).

‘Distance education students can use technology to be assessed using the same can be done through video conferencing or they can be asked to record their presentations and hand in for assessment’ (Evans, 2013). The third direct method of assessment is demonstration, which can also be used with both resident and distant education students. Students can be given demonstrations projects to work on and make presentations in class. Distance education students can make their demonstration presentations by preparing PowerPoint presentations with voice notes explaining each slide.

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Liberal Arts Education. (2020, May 02). Retrieved from

Liberal Arts Education

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