Sound Decision-making

Taking the time to fully explore the options and possible outcomes of decisions, including discussions and reflections from others, makes for better and deeper decisions.
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Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Individual and group decision-making can be swayed by personal biases, short-term emotions, unclear thinking, and overconfidence; using a well-researched five-step process can help students make sounder decisions more often.

Method Components

As students undertake an activity, the educator guides them through the five phases of sound decision-making. This process can be conducted individually, in small groups, or in whole-group instruction. These strategies can be deployed as a stand-alone activity or as part of a lesson.

Phases of sound decision-making

  • Explore: Widen the options and consider other possibilities for the choices involved in the decision.
    • Examples of activities include:
    • Discuss similar types of decisions made in the past, what happened, and how different choices might have worked out.
    • Identify the core values that may be influencing decisions.
    • Brainstorm multiple possibilities and alternative ways of looking at the decision (not an either, or decision but a both, and more decision) and list multiple options for the decision (see the Idea Generating micro-credential).
  • Research: Gather information to make a more informed choice (see the Productive Researching micro-credential).
    • Examples of activities include:
    • Review the advice given to others facing a similar decision.
    • Look for information that might disprove what is already know about the decision.
    • Look for statistics that both support and contradict current views of the decision.
  • Shift perspective: Think about how other people would make the decision.
    • Examples of activities include:
    • Consider examples of others you know well who made decisions in similar situations.
    • Think about the choices others would make and how they would feel.
    • Identify the core values upon which others were basing their decisions.
    • Find examples of how experts researched their options when confronting a similar decision.
  • Test parts of the decision: Analyze results (if possible) before and after the decision is made.
    • Examples of activities include:
    • Test out a choice by mentally trying it out for a while before making the real decision.
    • After making the decision, if possible, adjust parts of the decision based on what you're learning and how you feel about the decision.
  • Review outcomes: Examine what was learned from the decision-making process; identify what can be done to make better decisions the next time.
    • Examples of activities include:
    • Discuss what went well and what could be improved in the decision-making process.
    • Discuss what could be done better the next time you're confronted with an important decision.

Suggested preparation

  • Students recall an important decision they had to make recently and list the steps they used to make the decision, noting how they thought about their choices at the start.
  • Students pick a real-life decision they are facing.

Suggested review

  • Students discuss which decision-making strategies were effective and which were not and present their findings to the other groups.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Recent research into the decision-making process has shown that there are two common modes of decision-making: fast, immediate responses based on intuition, emotion, and reflex responses and slow responses based on deliberate analysis, exploration of options, and research; for making sounder, more thoughtful decisions, a process that explores more choices, researches other's decisions, and allows time to mentally test the decision are all effective at overcoming the fast mode of deciding, giving time for the slower, more deliberate decision-making process to take its course.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of project activities did you and your students engage in to become more proficient in sound decision-making? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the sound decision-making activities and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please submit work examples from two students (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, and other media) that demonstrate progress toward the sound decision-making competency, including such items as examples of the research done, evidence of considering how others would make the decision, examples of presentations of the results of the decision-making process, and other relevant items.

Part 3. Student reflections

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit student-created reflections on their experience of the sound decision-making activities. Use the following questions as a guide (200-word limit for each reflection):

  • How did the decision-making activities help you and your groups come up with better thought-out, more effective, more creative decisions?
  • How did the decision-making strategies change your view of the value of personally analyzing and sharing your views with a group to help tackle decision-making challenges?

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the sound decision-making activity?
  • How will experiencing these project activities shape your daily teaching practice in the future?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Sound Decision-making
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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