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Centre for Learning & Teaching www.abdn.ac.uk/clt Enhancing the Learning Environment to Support Learner Engagement Dr Darren Comber Senior Educational.

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Presentation on theme: "Centre for Learning & Teaching www.abdn.ac.uk/clt Enhancing the Learning Environment to Support Learner Engagement Dr Darren Comber Senior Educational."— Presentation transcript:

1 Centre for Learning & Teaching Enhancing the Learning Environment to Support Learner Engagement Dr Darren Comber Senior Educational Development Adviser

2 Centre for Learning & Teaching The Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT): supporting staff and students in the enhancement of learning and teaching CLT E-learning Student Learning Service Educational Development

3 Centre for Learning & Teaching LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS Staff Students Online Physical CLT contribution to the Curriculum Reform debate

4 Centre for Learning & Teaching Structure The learning “environment” Examining the learning environment: online physical students staff What does the future hold? Concluding ideas on enhancing the learning environment

5 Centre for Learning & Teaching The learning environment: medium as message Decoupling the “what” from the “how”? Physical? Online? Intellectual? Symbolic? Changing? Personal?

6 Centre for Learning & Teaching LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS Staff Students Online Physical CLT contribution to the Curriculum Reform debate

7 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: online Learners and applicants are: diverse: individuals’ careers and ‘learning’ are becoming less distinct autonomous: expect adult, customisable experience strategic: seek relevance & authenticity, and a route to the workplace

8 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: online Challenge: developing a personalised, professional and culturally relevant learning environment that can: reflect authenticity of workplace environment bring in the world by design (embedding in wider HE and professional culture) support students in a continuum of professional development support a progressive immersion in the community of practice support student collaborations with other institutions and industry facilitate 'virtual placements' retain the interest of alumni (Appendix 1: Fisher)

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11 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: online Tools for supporting e-learning: Simulations and platforms for problem-based learning Tools facilitating communication Course tools (e.g. WebCT) Students increasingly adept at choosing where to access information, how to communicate with peers, to which communities they belong

12 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: online Use of e-Portfolios at UoA Student reflection providing lecturers with insights into successful and less successful aspects of their curricula Public nature of e-portfolio: sharing, peer comment and feedback Burgess Report: transcripts (Appendix 2: Calder)

13 Centre for Learning & Teaching LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS Staff Students Online Physical CLT contribution to the Curriculum Reform debate

14 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: physical / online Emergent technologies Ubiquitous computing: personalised, handheld / smaller devices for communication and data access / capture / always connected Convergence of networked & physical worlds Augmented activities / reality (Appendix 3: Marston)

15 Centre for Learning & Teaching LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS Staff Students Online Physical CLT contribution to the Curriculum Reform debate

16 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: students of the “Net Generation” Net Generation students (Born post-1982) are: Digitally literate; Connected; Immediate; Experiential; Social Net Generation: Myth? Expectations of technology in H.E? Online > face-to-face? Use of technology to enhance learning by staff?

17 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: students of the “Net Generation” Technology: transforming education? Open Educational Resources movement Access to remote instrumentation / research and scholarly portals Virtual Worlds / Simulations / Web 2.0 Challenges: Designing engaging physical / online environments Integrating technology into the curriculum Empowering / supporting staff in the use of technology (Appendix 4: Preston)

18 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: international students International students are no longer a small group scattered across Programmes Language issues and cultural challenges can no longer be seen as “deficits” requiring “remediation” English is an international language of instruction A global classroom is an accommodating classroom

19 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: international students Collaborative, embedded & contextualised skills strategy: Grounded in the discipline Must be explicit & experiential Involves both staff and students Two phases: –Extended, hands-on orientation –Ongoing feedback and targeted support Discipline-specific support materials (Appendix 5: Di Pietro & Bray)

20 Centre for Learning & Teaching LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS Staff Students Online Physical CLT contribution to the Curriculum Reform debate

21 Centre for Learning & Teaching Examining the learning environment: staff Learning communities (after Tagg, 2003) Intrinsically rewarding goals Authentic performance Feedback: frequent and timely Long timeline for learning Communities of practice (Appendix 6: Comber)

22 Centre for Learning & Teaching The future? Balance of career and study Collaborations increasingly important Increasingly strategic learners Global marketplace

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24 Centre for Learning & Teaching The future? What could really make our Aberdeen experience different and better?

25 Centre for Learning & Teaching What are the implications of the ideas presented here? Learning environment as community “Belonging” on entry: levels 1&2 Global engagement Research-teaching linkages Alternative models of teaching and assessment Flexibility and adaptability Play to strengths of both staff and students

26 Centre for Learning & Teaching “…supposing the discipline is modelled not as a citadel of knowledge, guarded by experts, but as a community of practitioners?” (Parker, 2002: 379)


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