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Evolving pedagogic models for work-based learning within a virtual university Claire Bradley Dr Martin Oliver University College London Learning Technology.

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Presentation on theme: "Evolving pedagogic models for work-based learning within a virtual university Claire Bradley Dr Martin Oliver University College London Learning Technology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evolving pedagogic models for work-based learning within a virtual university Claire Bradley Dr Martin Oliver University College London Learning Technology Research Institute

2 Overview l Introduction to the context and project l Explanation of evolutionary “steps” –Model 1: Flexible learning –Model 2: Socio-constructivism –Model 3: Experiential learning –Model 4: A pragmatic synthesis l Discussion of the implications for other projects of this type

3 Background l Problems training employees of Small/Medium Enterprises: –Small training budgets –Release time –Vocational relevance l Proposed an online, flexible, masters-level course on Supply Chain Management

4 Project teams l Management l Learner support systems team –Provide pedagogic expertise, draw up guidelines for authors, provide feedback on materials l Authors –Often worked in teams, drawn from across the UK (and beyond…), selected as subject experts l Technical team l Delivery team l Evaluation team

5 Model 1: Flexible learning l Open learning - at time and place of student’s choosing l Computer based learning - delivered through a computer system l Work based learning - applicable to (and delivered in) the working environment

6 Model 1: Flexible learning l Small units of material (each 3 ‘core’ hours computer- based, plus 3 optional hours work-based) l Core assessed by multiple choice, work-based assessed by report/essay l Levels (e.g. undergraduate/masters) left open; same material used – it depends what the learner does with it (to make it relevant to wider audience) l Authors expected to write and ‘storyboard’ materials, but not to implement them

7 Model 2: Socio-constructivism l Model 1 evolved when project staff changed: –Incoherence of masters- and undergraduate-level materials –Multiple choice (and surface learning) vs. masters’ level courses –Fragmentation of knowledge/study –Text-based, hierarchical structure –View of learners learning in isolation –No discussion of student support issues

8 Model 2: Socio-constructivism l How were these issues addressed? –Guidelines for authors and student support developed –Gave up idea of dual-level courses; concentrated on masters-level materials –Explored different assessment methods (essays, portfolio, puzzles, exams, simulations, peer assessment, etc.) –Proposed 10-hour units, grouped in 10-unit modules for greater coherency –Gave examples of non-linear, uses of multimedia, etc. –Encouraged possibility of group-based discussion and activities (following Laurillard’s conversational framework)

9 Model 3: Experiential learning l Model 2 evolved when it became apparent that authors were not following the guidelines. The overall quality of many initial drafts was not as high as expected, and it emerged authors had: –little experience of writing for distance/online learning –a tendency to assume a lecturer-centred approach –a lack of familiarity with Laurillard’s model l There was also a general resistance from authors to learn new techniques (by some authors, at least)

10 Model 3: Experiential learning l How were these issues addressed? –Workshops were offered to help authors learn new techniques for writing online materials –Feedback given encouraged authors to consider student-centred learning (e.g. more activities, peer group online discussions, etc.) –Compromises were made by both LSS team and the authors to reach a more workable solution –Materials were organised around Kolb’s model of experiential learning (familiar to all authors)

11 Model 3: Experiential learning The diagram here shows how Kolb’s learning cycle was used as the basis for an online unit; each unit would involve completing at least one cycle Concrete experience Reflective observation Abstract conceptualisation Abstract experimentation THEORY CONTENT

12 Model 4: A pragmatic synthesis l Further evolution coincided with the release of the prototype delivery system –Prototype was based on technical team’s (didactic) pedagogy - it was transmissive and text-led, and linear –Authors were not making appropriate use of the online medium –There were a lot of inconsistencies between materials –Support guidelines were not being followed - over use of tutor feedback and under use of in-company mentor

13 Model 4: A pragmatic synthesis l How were these issues addressed? –Discussions between all teams led to the evolution of the prototype –The revised system was structured around learning content but placed equal emphasis on activity, case studies, collaboration and development of a portfolio –Learners can choose their own route through the materials

14 Model 4: A pragmatic synthesis l …continued… –Example ‘templates’ were developed that demonstrated the possibilities of the technology, allowing easy customisation for author’s material –Tighter guidelines were developed so that materials were structured to fit within the system and were more consistent across units and modules –The course delivery team became involved in agreeing support levels

15 Summary of the final model l Modules were masters-level of 100 learning hours each - they had a common structure, but some variation was permitted to suit subject matter and author style l The delivery system gave structure, but also allowed learner choice of study pathways l Learner online discussions and exchanges built-in l A learner support structure combining online tutor feedback, an in-company mentor, regional centre facilitator l Assessment - a combination of self-assessment activities with computer-generated feedback or model answers, tutor-marked assessments, and credits based on modules

16 Conclusions l Pedagogic model evolved each time new people got involved l Couldn’t introduce all teams at the outset; each needed to engage with something meaningful (e.g. guidelines for authors, materials for technical team, etc.) – a phased development l Evolution was shaped by participants’ skills, experiences and background l Evolution was not a one-way process; the system evolved, and the teams learnt (from each other, and through tailored training and as development progressed)

17 Conclusions l All of these points are general; they will affect any project of this type. l Certain fixed points were not affected, e.g. emphasis on flexibility & work-based learning. Fixed by needs of learners and project contract. l “Good practice” can’t just be picked up and used; instead, it will just become a starting point for a new evolutionary process.

18 Contact details l Claire Bradley Learning Technology Research Institute, University of North London, 166-220 Holloway Road, N7 6PP l Martin Oliver Higher Education Research and Development Unit, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, WC1E 6BT

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