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Workplace Learning Communities for Part Time Distance Learners UALL Who and what are universities for? Local communities, global competitiveness and the.

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Presentation on theme: "Workplace Learning Communities for Part Time Distance Learners UALL Who and what are universities for? Local communities, global competitiveness and the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Workplace Learning Communities for Part Time Distance Learners UALL Who and what are universities for? Local communities, global competitiveness and the part-time student March - Durham University Ronald Macintyre and Khadija Patel The Open University in Scotland

2 Overview What does the Open University do … The Scottish Context and Skills Utilisation The Workplace and Distance Learning Case Study: Place Based Workplace Learning Communities Case Study: Emerging Model of the Virtual Workplace Concluding Remarks and Questions

3 What we do … Open Learning Blended Learning Mass Production [ per presentation per module] Online Learning

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5 The Scottish Context and Skills Utilisation Scotland is large with an uneven geographic population distribution Scotland has the most educated workforce in the UK The UK has amongst the lowest GVA per capita in Europe and Scotland is the lowest in the UK Skills Utilisation better use of existing skills and the use of better skills It is not just a supply problem, leading us to engage much more directly in the workplace

6 The Workplace and Distance Learning Data More than 70% (rising to 80% with HN/FD) of our students are in work 2/3 of all student are studying for career reasons - % rises as they get closer to the end Concentrated (though not limited) to our Applied subjects Flexible mode of study important for students and increasingly important for employers Questions Skills Utilisation Partnerships, Unions Employers and competing interests Identity Formation, expert in work novice in classroom The role and development of Peer Communities

7 Place Based Workplace Learning Communities Union led partnership in a large engineering firm Direct Engagement in the Workplace the reps [Union] are really important in terms of collective [emphasis added] learning, and … developing peers that can support each other, [and] then we have [names OU staff member] being able to give expert advice … but also those extra support sessions.. (The Union) Union values emphasise collective learning, HR and management emphasise teams Distance learning sometimes characterised as solitary and self directed

8 Place Based Workplace Learning Communities Inter cohort Mutual Support... there's three boys on the course in my cell, we talk about that [study] regularly … mainly Maths [laughs] … some of the boys been starting new courses actually approached some of the guys on my course just asking …. how do you go about doing this … so they're getting help from us... Helps negotiate hybrid worker student identity, and tensions of studying and working Retention and Progression is higher than OU average Ability to talk through the learning and application practices workplace with peers Confidence to engage in team approach based on existing experience (better us of existing skills) and apply new knowledge (use of better skills)

9 Emerging Model of the Virtual Workplace Opportunities to reflect on the relationship between learning (academic and practice) and the workplace. Student 1: check with [the persons] health re[garding] developmental milestones student 2: both children are at the key stages, particularly young one[s bring in theories of and or for] developing and assessing attachment [based on theory]. Also agree re[garding] Health checks Student 1: looking at how we build Katies resilience [course material] [and the] Family support centre etc [physical location] Student 2: also issues re consistency and how she is meeting needs across parenting - Social work with children young people and families in Scotland

10 Emerging Models of the Virtual Workplace Sharing learning with others in the workplace – the extension of learning being derived from the virtual community Inter agency working I have also used the ecological perspective with regards to staged assessment meetings and often reminding people [from various bodies with different roles] supporting the child/young person. Consolidation of practice and new skills: through reflection, problem solving and critical thinking - through this process they are actively identifying areas where they feel changes to their practice is needed.

11 Emerging Models of the Virtual Workplace Scottish Union Learning students – Highlands and Islands Induction – Face to face for early experience – Build social presence for later virtual encounters Facets of Peer Communities – Face to face key – Shared sense of being remote and rural – Shared identity as Union Learners – Shared (Workplace) Roles

12 Emerging Models of the Virtual Workplace Sharing Across Virtual Workplace Peers interactions foster critical-thinking skills and problem solving skills Student 1: I agree with you although not an easy task it is possible to change business culture. Again I think that communication is the key. Student 2: Time and time again our superiors have tried to implement changes, spent funds and used resources only for the idea to fail however if they were to speak to us at grass roots first, run the idea passed us then we could better advise through experience if we could successfully implement the change Student 3: I would: -draw up an action plan and timescale for introducing the change -draw up any new procedures required

13 Emerging Models of the Virtual Workplace Also …. Personal skills and learning being utilised in the workplace My relationship skills and extra knowledge are helping me to cement my team which is encouraging more positive dynamics We hear people talk about HR concepts and financial concepts.. so hearing these things at work you can now relate it to your studies, and the other way as well.

14 Emerging Models of the Virtual Workplace From the cohorts we learnt People think of themselves primarily of workers Virtual Workplace provides opportunities for people to talk about their role as worker and as student (negotiate identity) Identity developed through Sharing of Practice(s) As Educational Developers, we learnt Planned Communities – carefully structured Facilitator (tutor) and key role Face to face in establishing social presence

15 Concluding Remarks That shared work context(s) can help people understand and manage their learning journey and personal identity Benefits of creating workplace communities (physical or virtual) accrue to the learner, the provider and the workplace Communities do not just form, they need to be carefully planned and managed

16 Questions …

17 Contact details Learning and Development Team The Open University in Scotland 10 Drumsheugh Gardens Edinburgh Tel: Tel: Visit:


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