Monday, January 14, 2019

Lifelong learning - themes from 1000 articles summarised

The article discussed in this blog is via Jane Hart's blog consolidating her 'picks of the year'.

The article, presents the authors' learning through the trawling through 1000 articles on continuous learning. Ten themes are presented.


Of interest is that young people are particularly interested in continuous learning opportunities. This bodes well for the future but is also a telling indicator of the increased precarity in the workplace. There is no longer a guarantee of ‘jobs for life’ and people need to continually keep up with the play to keep themselves current and marketable. Who pays for this continual learning is not detailed. As it is, in the current neo-liberalist environment, individuals tend to pay for their post compusory school, pre-work learning. This is followed by professional development or on the job training as provided by some employers. Individuals seeking to shift their skill sets often then pay for their 'extra' learning themselves via MOOCs or other sources of learning. Organisations are pragmatic and will only fund training they deem relevant to their requirements. Individuals, to keep up with the play, therefore need to continually upskill, either formally or informally and company or self-sponsored. 

The authors also connect the above to the need for people to be continually learning as being driven by the knowledge economy and constant change. Change also involves not just learning the same old thing again, but requires unlearning and relearning.

Three themes revolve around the role of organisations to support life long learners and the need for learners to take responsibility for their own learning. Continuous learning is seem to be essential to career success and job security is predicated on being keeping up the skills etc. to remain employable.
There is promotion of the concept of ‘continuous learning platforms’ which are predicted to disrupt current learning approaches. This is to meet the future which is defined by the authors as being open, continuous and embedded. See Digital McKinsey Practice for greater detail.



Monday, January 07, 2019

Plans for 2019


Back into the fray after some rest and re-creation in the NZ mountains. Looking forward to another busy and productive year.

The first item to complete is to ensure the programme documentation for our new Graduate Certificate / Graduate Diploma in Building Information Modelling is approved for delivery for the middle of the year. I will also be working with various teaching teams to complete their teaching and learning plans and first delivery of their programmes. These include the new Master in Sustainable Practice which will a blended approach based on principles of ‘networked learning’ and the level 6 Diploma in Interior Design, which will also have a blended approach.

Reviews across the sector and within my institution will also generate activity. Change always requires adjustment to the socio-politics of new ways of doing.

The main objective this year is to complete a book for Springer titled: Processes, pedagogy and technology-enhanced vocational learning: Learning and teaching a trade. This book, summarises the work I have been doing across the last decade on understanding how people learn how to become trades people. I have been beavering at the draft chapters from late last year and hope to have most of it done by Easter. To assist the process of completing the book, I will be embarking on a short sabbatical at the end of the year. I hope to have completed the draft of the book by then and will work on refining the book after it has come back from peer review.

Conferences include one at the end of March in Germany for the biannual convening of the International Network on Innovative Apprentice. The annual AVETRA conference is on in Sydney in June and perhaps one later in the year.

Monday, December 17, 2018

2018 review


Another busy year is about to close. Despite there being a smaller number of educational developers this year, programme development has proceeded well.

The programmes I have supported through the programme design process, have all attained approval from NZQA. These include reviewed degrees in Computing, Midwifery, a brand new Master in Sustainable Practice qualification and reworked Level 5 and new level 6 diploma in Interior design. Added to these have been ongoing support of the Construction Management degree and the development for a Post Graduate qualification in Building Information Modelling (BIM) which will be going to NZQA early next year.

The National project funded by Ako Aotearoa on e-assessmentsfor learning has officially ended. The report has been peer reviewed and should be up on the Ako Aotearoa website next year.

Publications have been less this year due to the work in completing the large e-assessment project. There have been 2 book chapters – one on work integrated learning in the book –Integration of VocationalEducation and Training Experiences: Technical and Vocational Education and Trainining: Issues, concerns and prospects, published by Springer.

The other, a chapter on perspectives of beginning trades tutors on teaching and learning in the book – Teaching and Learning forOccupational Practice: A Multi-Disciplinary and Multi-level Perspective – published by Routledge.

Apart from presenting at the Ako Aotearoa projects in progress colloquium, there have been presentations on the findings and outcomes of the e-assessment project at two Australian conferences (AVETRA and NZVET and NCVER nofrills) and at the Ako Aoteroa Academy Talking Teaching conference.

I look forward to another busy year next year.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Npj Science of Learning Journal - article - Learning Strategies: a synthesis and conceptual model

As a follow up from last week's post, here is an article from the journal npj Science of learning, written by Professor John Hattie and Gregory Donoghue on Learning strategies: Synthesis and conceptual model. 

The journal is open access, so all articles are available for download online.The above article is in the first volume and issue (2016), setting the scene for future article from the journal which have a focus on applying the evidence from neuroscience, to practice in teaching and learning.

Back to the article which proposes a model of learning that is made up of various learning strategies at identified stages in the learning process. The model assumes three inputs or outcomes - skill, will and thrill; and three phases of learning as being surface, deep and transfer. As with all of Hattie's work, the model is based on meta-anaylsis of 228 students to identify effective strategies for learning.

The skill that learner's bring to learning is their prior learning / experiences. The will refers to learner 'habits of mind' and their willingness / resilience and persistence. Motivation is the factor the contributing  to the thrill whereby the learner is engaged with learning. As learning proceeds, learning progresses from surface to deep to transfer.

The authors advocate for learning how to learn to be embedded or integrated into all aspects of learner experiences. Divorcing the 'skills' of learning to learn and teaching these separately, dilutes the effectiveness. As humans, we always learning better when learning occurs in context. Situated learning occurs because of what the learner brings into the experience. It is more likely that skills, will and thrills are effective when learners are able to make the connections for learning when learning occurs within context. Vocational education has a major advantage in that most of the skills, knowledge and attributes learnt across vocational education is achieved within context. The challenge is to deepen learning for learners through assisting them to apply learning to learn skills which are relevant to their learning context.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Higher Education Learning Framework - report from Science of Learning research centre - Australia

Here is a report which is relevant to all forms of learning and should be required reading for all teachers. The report is put together by researchers from the Science of Learning research centre (SLRC) who are based at the University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne.

The report is titled 'Higher Education Learning Framework: An evidence-informed model for university learning'. Athough the context is higher education, there is much in the report which summarises the latest in educational research and neuroscience which are also relevant in other education sectors.

There is a summary of the matrix and an overview of the project as well.

The centre also edits a journal - Npj Science of Learning - which is worth a look through.

The report advocates seven themes that support learning. Each of the themes is then extended with an explanation. Then strategies for teachers and students are detailed to maximise the efficacy of these themes for each group. Strategies for assessment and the principle theories / literature review and a list of relevant references complete each theme.

The themes are:
- learning as becoming
- contextual learning
- emotions and learning
- interactive learning
- learning to learn and higher order thinking
- learninc challenge and difficulty
- deep and meaningful learning.

The report is particularly useful as each theme is summarised briefly and the strategies for teachers, students and for assessments, provide good pragmatic examples for follow through.It is not too long, and teachers can dip in and out of the report to mine the ideas for enhancing teaching practice.


Friday, November 30, 2018

Talking Teaching 2018 - DAY 2 morning


The day begins with a fishbowl session. Dr. Margaret Henley from the University of Auckland modelled and facilitated the process to ensure the fishbowl process works. The discussion was on whether the traditional links between Australia and NZ still exists. There was a ‘reflective’ whole group discussion on to identify the range of learning that had occurred for the participants in the fishbowl and outside of it, during the session. A good session on how a well-structured, mediated and supported learning activity works.

Parallel sessions in 5 streams then begin.

I attend Dr. Deb Hill’s (from Whanganui Learning Centre) workshop on ‘how to deepen thinking with a capital D’. Began with an activity to establish whether we considered where we considered ourselves as being shallow or deep thinkers. Introduced the concept of OG – open grade – as a way to encourage students to work through the first stage of a unfamiliar subject. Used the session to obtain feedback on a practical guide to plagiarism. Facilitated discussion on critical thinking and what it consists of – intellectually curiosity, well-read, checking and re-checking, analyse deeply and independently etc. Binaries – deep / surface – not necessarily a good way to approach the nuances of the concepts behind the binary. Introduced the concepts which enhance deep thinking bearing in mind knowledge is a ‘human construct’.

Then, a presentation with Associate Professor Trudi Cooper from Edith Cowan University on ‘engaging teaching, inspiring learning- Universities after Industry 4.0’. A sociological take on the effects of technology on education. Began with an overview of Industry 1.0 – 3.0 – mechanisation, mass production, computing and the knowledge economy. From machines assisting humans, to humans as extensions of machines and where humans manage machines. Industry 4.0 is the era of the internet of things, intelligent machines / robots etc. machines replace humans or machines manage humans. Presented on implications not only to education but to all other aspects of human life. Will it be utopia or dystopia? Postulated some challenges for education 4.0 – critical literacy to strengthen democracy; protect against influence of machines/robots; realise creativity and develop human potential’ strengthen ethical awareness; education for conviviality; meaning and identity (post work, post liberalism / post capitalism). Consequences include purpose change to curriculum; student motivation – greater influence, role of the teaching and implications on policy. Advocates higher education has to make sure humans matter, Barnett and Coate’s domain of being / becoming emphasised; re- emergence of older purposes for education – for the betterment of humans.
Last parallel session for the day, I join the Otago Polytechnic Batchelor of Culinary Arts teaching team’s fishbowl on – I make; therefore, I know – assessing cognitive and creative problem-solving using embodied performances of practice. Presented on the similarities between dance and cooking in a kitchen by using a video to introduce the concepts. The launched into a fishbowl to hammer out the concepts. Robust discussion on differences of embodied practice and the points at which ‘becoming’ can be assessed.

The symposium closes with a keynote from Emeritus Professor ofMaori Education, Russell Bishop from the University of Waikato on ’Teaching to the North-East’. Presented on several problems to be addressed. Equity and excellence in NZ secondary education project – Te Kotahitanga. There is no theory of practice that resonates with marginalised peoples; no real common code of practice or scaling; there is a plague of ‘good ideas’ that masquerade as evidenced-based (Sleeter, 2914); Most PD is effective, open to political positioning and focuses on peripheral rather than central concerns; teachers’ voice is heard more than students; culture is more often seen as customs and objects; rather than a medium of sense-making; leadership is often spoken in terms of actions rather than transformative leadership; and teacher deficit theorising. His work has been based on ensuring teachers establish relationships with learners to improve learner outcomes. Pedagogy is framed by strong relationships between teachers and learners – the discursive relationship model. Sustainability of the project across time is important. Funding tends to be across too short a time frame. Need to explore WHY, once initial funding is stopped, interventions peter out. There was limited capacity building which did not continue beyond the project once funding stopped. Led to limited integration of model across school programme. Model was seen to be too prescriptive. On the whole, there was a lack of collective efficacy to assist the on-going continuation. North East refers to the quadrant for high teaching skills and high relationships – but majority were in South West – high relationships and low teaching skills. Challenge is to ensure the North East quadrant prevail. New model needs to be relationship based leaders of learning profile. Need to create an extended family context in classrooms and schools; interact in ways that promote learning; monitor learners’ progress so that you can improve learning. Need to shift from language of deficit to one of excellence and potentiality.

A wrap up is undertaken by Dr. Angus Hikairo Mcfarlane from the University of Canterbury. Reiterated that we do not only talk teaching, by do teaching. Summarised, in his erudite style, his learnings, the highlights, thanked all the participants and organisers and reminded us of how the conference reflected the principles of the treaty - partnership, protection and participation. Challenged us to continue to live the principles as we leave the conference. 

A late lunch closes a busy but productive conference.

Talking Teaching 2018 - DAY 1 afternoon



After lunch, another round of parallel sessions.

First up, a session with James Oldfield from Unitec with ‘empowering collaborative learning through technology’. James used www.mindmeister.com as a platform and polleverywhere - pollev.com as a platform to obtain initial understanding of collaborative learning from the participants. Provided rationale for his approaches for creating ‘a living curriculum’ and his role in transforming teaching practices, spaces and tools at Unitec. Interactive activity to populate a mindmap on ‘collaborative learning’. Participants populated and discussed mindmap.

The support Lyn Williams from Ara Institute of Canterbury in her campfire session on ‘teachers observing teachers. Lyn introduces the process (the background, the why and how) and shares the presentation with the teacher observers, Mandy Gould (hospitality) and David Weir (computing) who share their perspectives. A discussion session ensued with regards to the items presented.

I then run my workshop on ‘e-assessments for learning – matching digital tools to enhance e-feedback’. Basically to try out templates for the development of aligned e-assessments for learning which support e-feedback.

The day closes with drinks and dinner, Professor Phil Bishop provides the dinner presentation with ‘how to survive in the jungles of Borneo with a bunch of undergraduate students’, music with Jane Nevis and there is the return of the academy quiz game. A late finish to a busy day. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Talking Teaching 2018 - Ako Aotearoa Academy symposium - DAY 1 morning

This year, the Ako Aotearoa Academy symposium  - Talking Teaching 2018 - is held at the University of Canterbury. There is a larger than usual gathering due to the event being held in a larger city and an influx of a number of Australian Learning and Teaching fellows.

Yesterday, was an academy only day. The various workshops and discussions centred around the role and impact of the academy and its members on quality teaching and learning. The day concluded with dinner with the Australian Learning and Teaching fellows.

Today and into tomorrow, the main symposium carries through.

The event begins with a mihi whakatau (traditional Maori welcome). Professor Charles Fleischmann who is on the conference committee provides us with the safety and housekeeping briefing. Following on there are welcomes from Professor Catherine Moran, Assistant Vice-Chancellor of the university and Professor Marc Wilson, president for the Ako Aotearoa Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

The keynote address is presented by Professor Juliet Gerrard, academy member and recently appointed as the Prime Minister’s ChiefScience Advisor, She presents on ’beyond the tyranny of content – reframing our teaching using inclusive practices and critical thinking as essential foundations for learners in the 21st century’. Covered the parameters of her new role; the context of a teacher; and the connection between the two. Her current role is to be a trusted, accessible bridge between scientists, society and government. Needs to provide advice on a useful timescale which is rigorous, inclusive, transparent and accessible (from Nature, June 2018 – four principles to make evidence synthesis more useful for policy). Objectives include shifting society to be excited by science; had advice that is distilled from a diversity of thought and approach; earn trust; be proactive; accessible and view science knowledge and approaches to increase opportunities. Summarised her journey as a teacher to shift from content-based to application in a context. From her portfolio, distilled learning as being a ‘coach’, coaxing students out of their comfort zone, and creating a room in which questioning is encouraged. Used demonstrations to engage students and then made use of situated / contextualised learning. Facilitated an interactive Q & A session to work through the main challenges in learning. The challenges were how to create learning environments that support students to constructively challenge everything (using creative thinking); and Inclusive learning.
Parallel presentations then being. There are 6 streams.

I select the ‘technology’ stream, which actually focusses on digital learning and assesments.
First up, Associate Professor Cheryl Brown and Niki Davis from University of Canterbury with – engaging students in blended learning – UC student perspectives. Presented work for the team which also included Valerie Sotardi and William Eulatth Vidal. Began with the difficulty of defining engagement. Although there is a lot of literature and engagement is on a wide spectrum. Resolved to investigate the students’ perspectives. On-line engagement even more difficult to track. Two items are presence and performance. For online – learning analytics are visible but can be misleading. Clicking on a reading etc. does not mean they will have read the paper! What about the invisible. Provided distance student’s viewpoints. Flexibility makes synchronous attendance onerous, especially if presence requirements are required (attendance, forum participation etc.). What is not visible is the reflective learning; peer communications through social media; physical meetings amongst some students; etc. How to bridge the gap between pedagogical design and students’ learning needs and strategies. Suggested ensuring there is space for students to interact with their peers; undertake their individual learning; and work out what works for them from a range of suggested ‘pathways’ from which they can select and be guided through.

Then, Associate Professor Selene Mize from University of Otago with her experiences with computer-based examining. Presented preliminary findings. Ran through reasons for adopting computer-based examining – learner preference; sustainability; occupational health and safety around ‘hand fatigue’; and unreadable writing. Essay based exams are inauthentic as lawyers will never discuss ‘quotations’ in writing at work. Covered potential advantages and disadvantages. Summarised some of the studies around computer-based exams including the aspect whereby written examinations seem to score lightly better than word processed scripts. Detailed the staff and student surveys – law, anatomy, surveying, info science, tourism, political science. Low numbers of students opted in! Presented responses on perceived advantages and challenges of writing vs typing.

Next up, Associate Professor Jo Coldwell-Neilson from DeakinUniversity with ‘digital literacy – a driver for curriculum transformation’. Context is ophthalmology – which is a ‘self-contained’ programme with all courses being compulsory. Defined digital literacy in this context. For example – the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers (Gilster, 1997) –which needs to be updated for the current and future needs. Shared work defining digital skills expectations – digital muggle 9none), citizen user to find info, communicate and purchase), worker (complex platforms) and maker (programmer). There is work from UK JISC (6 elements – ict proficiency, digital creation, problem solving, communication and collaboration, learning and development and info data and media literacies – building an identity and welbeing), Belshaw’s 8 Cs (cultural creative, constructive etc.) and Beetham and Sharpe’s pyramid (I have, I cam I do, I am). Another model from Ireland – www.allaboardhe.com
To assess digital literacy, needs to be in context, can be assessed if integrated well – where it is taught, applied and assessed. Need to match what is required – explicitly assessed when it is an implicit requirement but not ‘taught’ e.g. use video to communicate.

Followed on by Renee Stringer - hospitality lecturer from Otago Polytechnic on ‘assessing assessment – challenging the system by giving students agency to assess themselves’. A focus not only on competencies but to help them become better learners beyond the Level 3 food and beverage students. over 50% move on to further study but have had little experience with tertiary education. Introduced the need to shift students from a standards based system to taking ownership of their learning and assessment. Needed to encourage students to engage with the marking criteria and to develop learning to learning skills. Authentic assessment (practical) was followed by a reflective process to evaluate their performance. Based on Mason Durie's 3 Ws or Es. Whakapiri / engagement, whakamarama / enlightenment to achieve whakamana / empowerment. When through each part of the model. Whakapiri / engagement involves setting up boundaries, be flexible and student accommodating and be in a safe and supportive environment. Whakamarama / enlightment focuses on providing information that meets students' needs by working with the whole person - physical, mental, spiritual etc. This then provides for whakamana / empowerment to be achieved along with participation within society, the Maori worldview, enjoy positive relationships and become self-managing. Discussed challenges including time required to negotiate grades with students and written reflections being less rich than f2f interactions with tutor.