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Going the distance - what students say about effective learning in an online work-based Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

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Presentation on theme: "Going the distance - what students say about effective learning in an online work-based Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 Going the distance - what students say about effective learning in an online work-based Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LTHE) Anglia Learning & Teaching Conference 2014 Uwe Matthias Richter

2 Research Aims  Evaluate factors that determine online engagement and non-engagement Learning community design Learning activity design Leaning environment usability Online learner persona?  Improve learner experience on PGCert: Increase engagement Improve community Improve technology usability

3 Background Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Two 30 credit modules Semester 1, 2012: Enhancing Learning & Teaching Through Reflective Practice (ELTTRP), Semester : Developing Assessment for Learning (DA4L)) Semester : Developing Assessment for Learning (DA4L14) Compulsory staff development for new academic staff Moved fully online in evaluation, 2014 follow-up

4 A Deficit as Starting Point  PGCert completely online and  compulsory for all new academic staff “Frustrating at times.. distance learning is not my preferred means of learning.”  often on top of high workload, and “Time constraints due to work commitments” (DA4L)  unfamiliar online learning environment “The module content is enjoyable and rewarding however navigating through that content is difficult, frustrating and ultimately reduces my capacity to connect with the material” (ELTTRP participant)

5 Improvements (Semester 1 to 2)

6 Models of Online Learning  Situated Learning (Lave and Wenger)  Community of Practice (Wenger)  Conversational Framework (Laurillard)  Social Constructivist Learning (using Salmon’s 5 Stage Model and e-tivity design)

7 occasional transactional peripheral active coordinator core group lurkers leaders sponsors experts beginners support outsiders Levels of participation clients (Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, 2011) Observer Master Expert Apprentice

8 Salmon’s Five Stage Model Source: Gilly Salmon model.html (creative commons)http://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage- model.html

9 Conversational Framework (Laurillard) Teacher Concept Learner Practice Teacher Practice Thoughts Action plans Guidance Others’ Concepts Others’ Practice Articulating ideas Others’ ideas Preparing Outputs Others’ Outputs Acting Listening/ Reading Reflection Producing Revising Information Learner Concept Learner Practice Adaptation ReflectionAdaptation Adapted from Laurillard, 2009, Creative Commons Asking Questions Learner Concept Working to a goal Internal Learner Cycle AdaptationReflection

10 Research Design  Survey (after each module), Follow-up survey in 2014  6 Interviews (Semester 2: DA4L)  Other sources: (Standard) Module Evaluation Questionnaire Adhoc feedback (e.g. Ask the Tutor Forum) Reflections in assignments

11 What Students said.. Impressions (DA4L)

12 What Students said.. Online engagement “Time constraints due to work commitments” “I was not able to do the tasks each week and therefore it happened always with a huge delay.” “Other students were not participating in online discussions [..] therefore, it was difficult to engage in online discussions” “The design of the module felt complicated in comparison to previous module delivery, which had very clear alignment to learning outcomes and patchwork [assessment].” “The learning activities were carefully thought out so that each week built upon the last.” “Deep learning was made possible due to the availability of rich learning resources” “Familiarity with the structure and format,.. using a wiki etc.. leading to being more securely engaged.”

13 What Students said.. Engaging To what extend did your online engagement with other participants engage you? “My online engagement went down as the course progressed as fewer and fewer people engaged” (ELTTRP) “However, once we were divided into small groups this was not a good experience. I had no feedback from fellow students and limited feedback from tutor which was often too late.” (ELTTRP)

14 What Students said.. Socially engaging To what extend did your online engagement with other participants engage you socially? “The face to face [Induction] sessions were the only opportunity to socialise”. Different learning preferences: visual versus read / write Active engaging (online activities) versus passive engagement (content)

15 What Students said in Engaging

16 Follow-up 2014 – Work-based learning Can you give examples how your learning involved your workplace? “Recommended reading was very useful to identify how I could improve practices of assessment.” “Lesson observations, but also trying out new strategies in class or drawing from workplace experience to inform assessment work.” “The general concepts (i.e. reading the online material) made significant contribution by providing a theoretical approach to my work.“

17 Conversational Framework for work-based learning Teacher Concept Learner Practice Teacher Practice Guidance Work colleagues’ Concept Work Practice Articulating ideas Colleagues’ feedback Applying learning to work practice Reflecting on application and revision Acting Listening/ Reading Reflection Producing Revising Information Peer Concept Peer Practice Adaptation ReflectionAdaptation Modified from Laurillard, 2009, Creative Commons Asking Questions Learner Concept Working to a goal Formal peer learning Informal peer learning

18 Summary In the distance learning modules improvements were achieved by: Improve navigation in VLE (less is more)

19 Summary Improvements were achieved by: –Reducing the number of learning activities & tools –Distributing between content and peer engagement –Requiring less engagement towards the end https://vle.anglia.ac.uk/modules/2013/MOD001546/ SEM2-DL1/Content/Start.aspx

20 Summary Embedding activity tools in Content and increase the mix of media DA4L 2014 Week 6 (https://vle.anglia.ac.uk/modules/2013/MOD001546/ SEM2-DL1/Content/Week%206.aspx)Week 6

21 Future developments More immediacy through synchronous sessions (webinars) and personalisation through social networks (e.g. Facebook group) Design activities which encourage engagement with work- based community / work colleagues

22 Thank you for your attention! Questions?

23 References  Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Laurillard, D. (2008). Digital technologies and their role in achieving our ambitions for education. Professorial lecture. Institute of Education, University of London: IoE Publications. Available at: [Last accessed 16/06//2014].  Laurillard, D. (2009). Evaluating learning designs through the formal representation of learning patterns. PowerPoint presentation. In: ALT-C 2009 "In dreams begins responsibility" - choice, evidence and change, September 2009, Manchester. Available at: [Last accessed 16/06//2014].  Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science. Building Pedagogical Pattern for Learning and Technology. New York and London: Routledge.  Salmon, G. (n.d.) The 5 Stage Model. Available at: [Last accessed 15/03//2014].http://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html  Salmon, G. (2011). E-Moderating: The Key to Online Teaching and Learning. 3rd edition. London: RoutledgeFalmer.  Salmon, G. (2013). E-tivities: The Key to Active Online. 2nd edition. New York, Abington: Routledge.  Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Wenger, E., McDermott, R. and Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating Communities of Practice. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.  Wenger, E. and Trayner, B. (2011). Levels of Participation. (Slide). wenger-trayner.com. Available at: [Last accessed 16/06//2014].

24 Discussion 1.How do you engage participants online when they don’t have time? 2.How can you develop a virtual learning community / community of practice for those who learn from engaging with others? 3.How can you encourage and promote engagement of participants in their work-based community? 4.How can you make the online environment a more “social” place?


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