Presentation on theme: "Inhabiting and flexible learning: resolving a conundrum Ronald Barnett, Institute of Education, London Flexible Learning conference, Higher education Academy,"— Presentation transcript:
Inhabiting and flexible learning: resolving a conundrum Ronald Barnett, Institute of Education, London Flexible Learning conference, Higher education Academy, University of Westminster, 23 July 2013 Centre for Higher Education Studies Sub-brand to go here
2 Themes, agenda Inhabiting – (the HE landscape/ the student experience) Spaces/ learning spaces Flexiblity/ flexible learning Students Students being – and becoming Learning landscape Architecture
3 Exam question In the context of flexible learning, how might the idea of inhabiting help us? Just what is that students might come to inhabit? (Both practical and policy dimensions)
4 Initial considerations – on inhabiting itself Being on the inside –Of what? Of external structures (credit accumulation) –Of internal(ised) structures (disciplines) –Of oneself – critical self-reflection; coming to an understanding of oneself These are different kinds of learning spaces – with quite different pedagogical and educational principles Does talk of flexible learning invite us to focus (over-focus) on external structures?
5 A conundrum In the context of flexible learning, how might we employ the idea of inhabiting? Is it that the student inhabits and finds his/ her way through systems and structures that offer flexible pathways (place, pace, mode) OR Is it that the student inhabits (dwells in) her own internalised patterns of reasoning?
6 On dwelling in time and space B Russell – citizen of the universe Hamlet: I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite space Bourdieu – habitus – structured dispositions/ generative capacities/ categories of perception Polanyi – idea of indwelling: one comes to dwell in a framework of understanding – both control over the world and over ourselves; permeated by phases of self-destruction. –we are guided by experience and pass through experience without experiencing it in itself. -we lose ourselves in contemplation. -Contemplation has no ulterior intention or ultimate meaning … we become absorbe in he inherent quality of our experience, for its own sake.
7 Inhabiting knowledge Disciplines Interdisciplinarity Ethno-epistemic assemblages (Irwin & Michael) Mode 2 K Epistemic spaces Thinking spaces (Thrift) – in new time-space arrangements – spaces of inspiration incorporating many possible worlds Mode 3 K
8 Two concepts of learning We learn through various systems and structures – of time, place, mode –And these systems may permit greater or lesser choice And we learn in ourselves (we inhabit ourselves, dwell in ourselves) –ie, when I learn something, something changes in me. I come into a new space, a new mode of being in the world (Heidegger – being as being possible: in this learning, new possibilities open for me.)
9 So two concepts of learning spaces (cf Savin-Baden) Learning spaces as –External to myself And as –Internal to myself.
10 The student as architect Again, therefore, two ideas The student as arranger, of exploiter, of external spaces extended to her She creates her own patterning of learning spaces – technology, places, pace, modules, disciplines. And She creates her own patterning of ideas and experiences in her own mind and being.
11 The idea of attachment In the idea of attachment, these two concepts of learning (and of flexibility) come together We can ask with what degree of attachment is a student located in her external learning spaces? (a) external attachment And we can ask With what degree of attachment is the same student located in her internal learning spaces? (b) internal attachment NB: high attrition rates in many distance-learning programmes across the world: detachment in (a) leads to detachment in (b)? NB: greater likelihood of non-completion the longer part-time students take to complete their programme.
12 Space and structure Are there general relationships between educational effectiveness and structure? Total structures, allowing of no choice or spaciousness, are educationally ineffective But so too are entirely open educational situations? Ownership, attachment arise in presence of structures tempered by elements of choice
13 Inhabiting takes place on levels and places Unit Course Institution National system Cross-nation And actually and virtually In/off campus In/outside course (LW lng) In own country/ in another country
14 The idea of heutagogy (Hase and Kenyon): the study of self-determined learning expansion and reinterpretation of andragogy emphasis on learning how to learn, double loop learning, a non-linear process, and learner self-direction. requires that educational initiatives include learning how to learn as well as just learning a given subject itself. in heutagogy, all learning contexts, both formal and informal, are considered.
15 Conclusions Genuine learning calls for an internalised learning So flexible learning has, in part, to be a matter of opening spaces to learners to promote this internalised learning In the end, we have to learn by and for ourselves We inhabit, we design, we modify our own learning spaces Much talk of flexible learning is concerned with external learning systems Place, mode, pace Not a set of goods in themselves Answer to our conundrum: Flexible learning spaces are justified only to the degree that they sponsor internal learning, internal inhabiting of and attachment to and development of the learners own spaces Institute of Education University of London 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL Tel +44 (0) Fax +44 (0) Web