Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dr. Elly Govers on programme design for student learning

Last Friday, attended the first of a series of workshops which inform CPIT staff on the programme design role which will be facilitated by staff in the Centre for Educational Development (CED). At the moment, the CED has a core staff of acting manager, staff developers (one on literacy/numeracy support and me – research support for the moment) and three ‘educational designers’. The adverts for a manager have gone out and the plan is to have a manager in place by the beginning of next semester. The CED is tasked with assisting faculties to develop programmes of study which reflect the CPIT kaupapa (guiding philosophies).

Dr. Elly Govers, Academic adviser, from Eastern Institute of Technology presented some of her Phd work which investigated aspects of programme design for student- centred learning. She compared five programmes to distil the underlying programme design philosophies. Documentation and interviews with managers, tutors and ITOs involved in informing programme design was used to unravel the various approaches taken to create programmes of study.

She presented five metaphors which can be used to better understand approaches to programme design. These are :-

  • Consumable product - viewing learning as an outcome and students obtaining a product which they have paid for. An aspect dear to the heart ITP management.
  • Production process – whereby learning has a purpose and the main purpose is to produce work-ready graduates. Many ITP tutors seemed to have this focus.
  • To temper the above, the concept of guided tour is used where by students pay for a product and work towards a vocational qualification but are also provided an experience with which they can engage with to make learning enjoyable and relevant.
  • Guided adventure has more of a humanistic direction. Students are assisted to find purpose and then work towards their own goals. The programme in the study which contributed this metaphor is in the area of language learning and specifically Maori. Elly is interested in finding out if the subject area or socio-cultural context contributed to this finding.
  • Mission is another metaphor which encompasses learning as transformation and students learning not only skills/knowledge leading to a job but for learning to contribute to the formation of a better world. The concepts in this metaphor relate to sustainability, internationalisation / biculturalism etc. aspects the CED identify as being important in developing the ongoing ‘health’ of a learning and teaching organisation.
Above metaphors were well received by the audience and may be useful in providing a shared language between CED staff and CPIT management and teaching staff as they work towards improving the programme development process.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Peerwise workshop presented by Dr, Paul Denny on 16th April

Attended workshop convened by Southern hub of Ako Aotearoa by Dr. Paul Denny of University of Auckland a week ago. I am putting this post up now as I was interested in gauging participant response to his presentation. So a week or so after the presentation, I can report that there is movement at CPIT on using Peerwise.

Paul is a member of the Ako Aotearoa Academy having earned his wings at last year’s tertiary excellence awards. A good representation of CPIT staff, private providers & ITO representatives attended the workshop at CPIT on the afternoon of Friday 16th April.

Paul provided a very good workshop, with enough time for participants to have a good play with Peerwise. He modelled good teaching practice and it was a pleasure to watch him take the participants gradually through the ins and outs of using Peerwise. In essence, Peerwise is a ‘social networking’ site for students to share multiple choice questions. The concepts which bring Peerwise beyond the usual is the ability for students not only to enter multiple choice questions and answers but to also rate and comment on questions inputted by other students. Having to write multiple choice questions is in itself, no easy task as this guideline describes. Students working on compiling the questions need to understand the topic and then construct clear and meaningful questions. Students are able to then rate/rank and comment on the questions of other students. This engages students in another layer of interaction with the subject content. Therefore, concepts used in Peerwise supported by sound educational theory.

At CPIT, the interest in Peerwise as led to a workshop, which I will run later this week, for school of business tutors on discussing merits or other wise of using Peerwise. Will need to sell the idea that the students will be doing most of the work! Plus interest from the Carpentry ITP consortium of using Peerwise as a repository of multiple choice questions suitable for sharing between the ITPs teaching carpentry trades in NZ. Adult education will also be evaluating the use of Peerwise into one of the Diploma in Tertiary Teaching & Learning courses, to introduce new tutors to the process of using a modified form of social networking to help engage their students in active learning.

Learning welding #5 and learning how to be a builder #1

We have now had confirmation of funding from Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub for the second semester re-iteration of the ‘Studying the learning of trades students using multimodal data analysis’ research programme, which is planned to have at least 6 projects and maybe move to 8, depending on findings which eventuate from each project.

The welding students are now into the second term of learning welding. A few students have dropped out but the remaining students have made good progress thus far. They seem to be more confident with working through the various welding exercises required to complete the course. Observations of tutor and student conversations reveal overt signs of understanding of technical terms and jargon used within the welding context. However, it will be good to try to find out their actual understanding of the process. Something we will think through when we work with next semester’s intake of students.

In the next project, we will also be collecting data at building sites through contacts made via Marc Mendoca at Fletcher Construction, a large local construction company. The research intent is to gather data from construction worksites of ‘learning conversations’ between apprentices and peers, other workers, supervisors etc. We will have to see, once we get out on to a worksite, how to best gather data to work with.

One of the ways of might be to do a comparative exercise with each trade on learning a type of skill using a distinct type of knowledge. Gentile’s taxonomy may be helpful in choosing skills which are similar in objectives. There are many ways to classify knowledge, Gott’s (1989) classification of knowledge may be helpful in defining the knowledge component to study. This classification is similar to Nuttall’s method to classify learning outcomes but it is more general and pertinent to skills training. The classification defines knowledge into procedural (how to do it), declarative (knowledge of devise or system) and strategic (how to decide what to do and when).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Future of the use of technology in learning aka currently as mlearning

Organising myself for conferences this year. The last bits of the $$ available from my tertiary teaching excellence award will be going towards several conferences in Europe which have an emphasis on mobile learning. First up would be Handheld 2010 from 10th to 13th of October in London, then a Forum Oxford: futures technologies conference on 15th October followed on with the annual mlearning 2010 conference in Malta from 19th to 22nd October.

I will be evaluating the progress of papers on mlearning and to work out if I will continue to follow this area of research. My work into apprenticeship learning is taking up much of my energies at the present. It is an area with very little research focus and therefore important to continue with. The use of technology into teaching is now, for many tutors at CPIT, a way of integrating technology into helping students learn.

My view on mlearning is that very very soon, all technology assisted learning will be mobile. It’s sort of the normal way which learners should be approaching learning, anytime and anywhere. It’s no different to what has taken place for 100s of years when we carried books around and read them when on the go and dipped into reference books whenever we had to find things out. Technology now enables this to take place much more efficiently. Instead of carrying a couple of books, I now carry hundreds on my ipod touch, instead of waiting to get home to look up something, I now google it if there is wifi available. Just in time approach is an innate human response. Wifi availability is also now becoming much more ubiquitious. For instance, there is 15 minutes of free Wifi available at my local Christchurch airport and Wellington airport offers free Wifi. The last three conferences I attended had free Wifi available to delegates. People now assume they will be connected wirelessly and for no cost.

The early work of mlearning learning on’micro learning’ etc. and working with small screens is all but obsolete with the coming of nettabs like the ipad. With an ipad, there is no need to reconfigure LMS like Moodle or web pages to optimise interaction with the hardware. The ease of use of the ipad will change the nature of how we access and utilise information. Therefore, before we know it, mlearning will be normal technology assisted learning. There has been a flurry of articles on using the ipad in education including pros and cons and various uses in learning.

Over the weekend, I caught up with an interesting presentation from Dr.dana boyd at Games based learning 2010 which was held recently. This presentation provides some suggestions for educators in leveraging social networks for enhancing student learning. For educators, there is a need to understand what technologies are out there, who uses them, how they are used and why. How these technologies are ‘rupturing’ the way in which how young people see the world and the role of educators in helping young people get the most out of technologies. She covers perceptive insights into the implications for young people and educators using social networking sites as examples. All of the social networking sites are now accessible via mobile devices and this migration from desktop to mobile is accelerating.

Also in the same conference, Professor James Gee presented a good overview of the role of games in providing situated learning opportunities for students which I am going to evaluate for suitability as a resource for my adult learning principles course. He is one of the members of the New London Group who authored the paper on the "pedagogy of multiliteracies" which is informing my practice and the various research projects I am working on at the moment. 
Both the above presentations provide justification and food for thought on how technology may contribute to enhancing learning for students plus the ways in which ubiquitious computing is now almost mainstream.

Friday, April 16, 2010

ITF NZ vocational research forum - day two afternoon

After lunch attended a comprehensive session by Anna Boyd, Healthrose research & Doug Pouwhare from the electricity supply ITO on how to increase participation rates of Maori, Pacific peoples, migrants and women in their industry. Electricity generation, transmission, distribution and retails industry has very low participation rates amongst women, Maori & Pacifica peoples. Successive strategic plans in 2002 & 2009 did not provide direction towards improving participation rates. Enablers were employer and provider related and also depended on trainee ambitions, experiences and personal qualities. Barriers include disconnect between theory and practice, lack of practical application, poor quality training, lack of employer support and negative spillover of other work and home obligations. Issues for Maori include importance of family/whanau, proximityof workplace/training to family/whanau, Maori in leadership/supervisory roles and the importance of ‘getting a trade’. Issues for Pacific trainees include meeting the aspirations of family for a better life and screening of applicants on personal presentation and communication skills. Issues for women were entrenched view on woman’s capability to work in the industry, women can do anything and attraction of outside work.. Issues for migrants were language barriers, recognition of qualifications and different ways of working and settlement issues for new migrants. Implications include recruitment/selection practices of industry was limiting the pool of potential employees/trainees and industry appears to have a low state of readiness to respond to diversity issues. Key interventions include ones that promote employer support for trainees and a commitment to training and need to address barriers to recruitment into industry.Future work proposed to raise awareness in industry, iwi discussions and supporting a cohort of women into the industry (which will be part of an action research project).

Then session by Dr. Chris Holland from Work & Education Research & Development Services, on building leadership through the development of mentoring. Overview of literature on mentoring reveals two streams – the restricted/functionalist (tends to be hierarchical) & the relational model (holistic approach with mentor / mentee learning together). The ITO good practice guide to workplace mentoring available through ITF. Mentoring workshops supported by ITF and funded by Ako Aotearoa with workshops in Auckland/Wellington and through 3 ITOs. Project completed with the fire service with volunteer firemen to evaluate mentoring improvements. Various examples of mentoring occurred including buddying, mentoring by senior, one-up mentoring, group mentoring, rotational mentoring, volunteer-selected mentor and mentoring based on external expertise. Call for some form of professional development support to be provided to mentors.

After afternoon tea, attended the session by Profession Frank Sligo, Dr, Niki Murray, Elspeth Tilley and Margie Comrie, Massey University and Carol Atkin from Literacy Aotearoa on modern apprentices’ (MA) literacy learning. MA may request for LLN support and by 31/12/08, 191 MAs had been seen for LLN tuition to a maximum of 30 hours a year. This project carried out a formative evaluation of the literacy tuition including review MA’sMAC’s and adult literacy tutors’ and employers’perspectives of literacy programmes, assess impact of tuition on MA’s progress in apprenticeship (theory & practical) and assess the merit of the MA literacy programme and make recommendations for improvement. Types of assistance varied from high needs (more than 30 hours) to moderate (11 + hours) to low needs (under10 hours). Apart from LNN support, supportive employer, genuine mentor, a partnership between MAC,employer and literacy tutor needed plus workplace culture needs to be positive about LLN. Full report expected to be out by May.

Conference closed with a plenary session on linking VET research with government policy and priorities with panel members – Monique Dawson from Dept. of Labour, Roger Smyth from Ministry of Education and Peter Palmer from the Tertiary Education Commission. Roger Smyth reported on late but ongoing progress on industry training including ALLs survey & completion rates of apprentices. Need for research on what contributes to learning and what are the connections between tertiary education and the labour market. Also a need to better understand the sub-degree system plus encouragement to use qualitative approaches to gain better depth of understanding. Projects need to come up with clear messages and usable by the people who are connected to the research. Researchers need to be familiar with what the policy analysts are working towards as well and recommends being savvy about obtaining correct support to champion the findings.

Peter Palmer reported on TEC’s focus on maximising pool of $$ available for tertiary ed. Performance issues now a focus of TEC which are detailed in the Tertiary Strategy released late last year. Gaps in research include trying to understand what drives performance issues in the tertiary sector. Fundamental research needs to be undertaken to understand what works and what does not. Relevance of learning to work needs to be investigated as well.

Monique Dawson provided background on now the Dept. of Labour tries to advise on skills forecasting. Liaises withTEC/MOE and Dept.of Immigration to try to ensure required skill needs are made. Evidence of market led training not meeting need of improving productivity in the NZ workforce, so more research in this area recommended. Jeremy Baker encourages practitioner research as being one important way to address the issues proposed by the three speakers. All good direction for planning of future research projects :)

ITF day 2 - morning sessions

Day 2 begins with a keynote from Professor Paul Dalziel from the AERU at Lincoln University on the OECD leveraging training and skills development in SMEs study – a NZ study. Began with a background on the role of the OECD and its influence in training and skills development. Provided details on objectives of LEED, a multi-country study of how SMEs may be able to leverage training and skill development. NZ is the first country to participate. Four key concepts covered – formal / informal learning, knowledge-intensive service activities (KISA), regional skills ecosystems and particular issues of SMEs.

KISA includes R & D, international marketing, financing, management consulting, intellectual property legal services, HR & accounting – some research shows the capacity of firms to perform KISA more effectively may differentiate a firm from its competitors.

Ecosystems venn diagram need to meet to produce high skill ecosystem, the parts are firms, education & training, individuals and policy settings. Small changes by each part of the ecosystem may work towards enhancing the total ecosystem. In NZ, ITOs contribute to industry ecosystems but ITPs lead regional ecosystems.

90% of enterprises in NZ are SME and they generally cannot afford to maintain large KISAs. Therefore, may be greater reliance on informal, on the job, unstructured training by SMEs. Small firms provide their own KISAs inexpertly because they cannot afford to purchase them.

Details of preliminary findings of the NZ LEEDs study were provided focused on the web based questionnaire. Almost all firms had a budget set aside for training and about 70% had training plans. However, the amount of $$ actually put into training was very low. ½ wanted to engage with formal training and for many costs was the challenge. Over ½ reported staff as involved in informal learning activities. Majority of informal learning from clients and co-workers, then informal networks, suppliers, industry associations etc. Study also made of highly innovative firms as compared to others. Innovative firms tend to be ‘older’ and has numbers of staff on the higher end of the SME definition (i.e. between 10 -19 employees). These firms more likely to have training plans plus some $$ in training budget, engaged in formal training & more informal learning activities tracked. NZ report about to be released & available from Paul via email.

All in a good overview with interesting tie in to Gemma Peircy's work on skill ecosytems.

Concurrent sessions begin with a session by Dr. Karen Vaughan & Marie Cameron from the NZ Council for Educational research presenting on an Ako Aotearoa national fund project on workplace assessments. In this presentation, useful ways to structure assessment of learning in the workplace was proposed. Began with a review of workplace learning, workplace assessment and ITOs roles in assessment. Most industry training occurs/assessed on job (8% off-job, 43% on job, 49% blended – usually >20% off-job).

Four principles distilled. Firstly, good assessment requires appropriately recruited, trained and professionally developed people (including for verifiers). Secondly, moderation contributes to the validity and reliability of assessment decisions. Next, the ITOs assessment structures and systems must support the learning process. Lastly, ITOs and workplaces have a clear purpose for assessment and they work together.

Next session from Department of Labour presented by Richard Manning from work by Vij Kooleya and Dr. Ram SriRamaratnam on ‘what will the labour market look like in the future? Overall employment growth rate of employment of 2.5% per annum from 2003-2008,lowered to 0.5% between 2008-2013 & 0.8 % between 2013 – 2018. semi-skilled and skilled trades record negative growths between 2008-2013. Growth in skill-associates & high skilled occupations. Total employment forecasted to increase from now to 2013 as recession eases. Potential areas of employment growth include forestry & logging, communications, health/community services etc. Decreases expected all forms of manufacturing and construction. Implications of aging workforce indicate slowly rising numbers of people retiring from the workforce over the next 10 years.

A busy morning bracketed with good conversations with various other people interested in discussing either my presentation yesterday or interested in details of the ‘first year apprentices’perspectives’project.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ITF NZ vocational education research forum - day one afternoon

My session came up first thing after lunch. I presented on the concept of assisting the boundary crossing of new trades tutors into acceptance of an identity as a teacher. Basically a report on a subset of the Ako Aotearoa southern hub funded project’perspectives of new trades tutors’. I introduced concepts of cultural-historical activity theory (CHATs) and metaphors of boundary crossing, boundary objects and boundary crossers using examples from the study but encouraging audience to think about examples within their own contexts.

Next session was with Dr. Heather Lees with Peter Engelbrecht and Peter Whittaker from the ETITO, on capturing skill utilisation: workplace evidence in national qualifications and literacy profiles. Overview of current ETITO qualification development/review process. Preparatory research followed by consulting industry (mainly SMEs) and develop qualification. New approach included workplace visits to the process instead of just a consultation group. A qualification role profile report was constructed to inform the development of a role competency map. This include non-technical (personal attributes, attitudes, industry knowledge, firm) and technical skills (general, trade/professiona and firm specific technical skills). Norhdaug’s classification of skills (1993) used to help prioritise the types of non-technical, technical or firm specific skills into the qualification. Literacy and numeracy skill profiles/demands of various tasks were also considered.Links were made between literacy and qualifications profiles in tandem so that both are integrated/embedded.

After afternoon tea, attended sessions by Katherine Percy, Workbase and Ravi Kulatunga from etc. Consulting. On cost effective method for measuring business benefits of workplace literacy learning. Example based on work with five companies. Began with measuring productivity in the form of KPIs (production, warehousing, health & safety, HR, customer service etc.) Did one base line measure than another one after the programme & a period of time has passed to allow return of investment of staff attending/completing programme to bed down. Quantitative approach used supplemented with qualitative data from focus groups. Quantitative data show positive returns with increases in labour productivity, employee skills, service delivery etc & reduction in absenteeism, error rate, overtime etc. The evaluation exercise led to better understanding by each company on how to leverage the workplace literacy programmes to help improve workplace productivity.

A full day closed with plenary session from Anne Alkema, Dr. Cathy Wright and Dr. John Benseman– Department of Labour on Workplace LLN (learning literacy and numeracy). Anne went through literature which tells us it is difficult to quantify the benefits of embedding LLN in workplace learning, however, intangible benefits (improved confidence, self efficacy etc.) other than actual literacy/numeracy skills appear to be there but difficult to pin down. 3 completed studies used to provide summaries. Key messages for employer-led LNN indicate lack of awareness about link between LNN & workplace issues, there is need to promote LNN training as a part of a whole business approach and access to funding is an issue. From the Modern apprentices perspectives, there is a divide between the ‘literate’ world and the trade world, apprentices employ coping strategies to mask L & N issues, workplace productivity takes priority. Impact of LLN support for apprentices include improved confidence etc. Common themes include need to do considerable work to raise awareness of LLN, workplaces still unable to integrate and there is still a ‘deficit’ approach to LLN. Cathy presented on literature review undertaken with LLN – need to gain & sustain company commitment including supervisors being part of learning project team, identity literacy needs by conducting company & individual needs assessment, full & consultative planning before programme begins, create a positive learning environment. Need to include context into curriculum design, make programme design a collaborative effort, select skilful instructors, use a flexible delivery mix, tailored /flexible support required. Lead into the upskill study which is about to be completed by this group. Went through findings from a study to evaluate role of LLN in upskilling by Wolf and Evans (2009). John provided guidelines on how to use research literature to inform current LLN programmes. Good resources produced by NRDC & need to think of how this information can be passes on to practitioners.

ITF NZ vocational education research forum

At the annual NZ vocational education and training research forum held at Victoria University’s Rutherford House. Over 200 participants and a host of interesting presentations to look forward to. Flip Leijten, who is working with me on the multimodal projects is also attending, It will be good to find out his perspectives on the various concepts he will encounter over the two days. It is a good way to introduce Flip to conference presentations as next year we plan to present our findings from the multimodal projects at this conference & other similar ones in Oz.

Jeremy Baker CEO of ITF opens with a warm welcome. Seems many abstracts submitted but presentations selected for quality and relevance. Representatives from all sectors of voc. ed. in NZ represented and this is the one conference in NZ which is focused on voc. ed. research. Good to see the growth of interest in the area considering that there was very little research in NZ in voc. ed. a decade ago.

Conference opens with a welcome address from Dr. Peter Coolbear, director of Ako Aotearoa who spoke on excellence in vocational education in NZ. Focus on defining excellence as being the learner perspective & how learners and employers view their educational experience and assess the value of their learning. Drivers of excellence include personal motivation of learner, personal motivation of educator, the organisation, the system, policy settings and the funding incentives. Also provided an overview of the four Ako Aotearoa National funded projects plus some of the hub projects and good practise projects how these fit into the Ako Aotearoa objectives of ensuring key findings reach decision makers to provide for prompt action.

First keynote by Professor Richard Lakes from Georgia State University on VET sectors: Alignments in workforce and economic development. Began with a summary of USA voc. ed. direction. Then discussed the national crisis of youth transitions as less than 25% of high school seniors qualify for college, poor results on PISA study with USA on the bottom quadrant of science and math, highest incarceration rate etc. Presented Georgia work ready project as one way to work through challenges presented. Workkeys is used as a diagnostic test (applied maths, reading for info & locating info. & work habits) to establish work readiness. Various public sector funded initiatives detailed to assist various groups to access voc. ed. to prepare school leavers for available work.. Detailed various methods used to link to state policy to match workforce skills requirements in various specialised sectors & especially in emergent industries like the life sciences / biotech sector, aviation maintenance etc.

After morning tea, attended a series of presentations from Phd students doing research in the voc ed area. Short 15 minute presentations so only an overview of each study. I was interested in finding out more about research approaches and methodology.

Begins with Lois Parks from Victoria University on a ‘theory of national Human resource development policy evaluation and engagement’. Her study based on the tourism industry. Introduced usual strategic HRD/VET logic whereby govt. organises qualifications etc which eventually leads to skills development in the industry targets. Proposes an alternative approach which is a critical HRD/stakeholder evaluation logic. This proposal uses iterative cycles of stakeholder engagement to fine tune skills development so that skills meet relevant/current industry needs. Data analysis leads to the building of a series of models.

Then ‘human capital deficiency in the NZ dairy industry – a case study’ presented by Rachel Lowry (with Professor Graham Elkin) from the University of Otago.Based on a study written up 2 years ago and involves specifically looking at the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) of dairy farm assistants. Dairy industry an important contributor to the NZ economy & has been impacted on my various macro (technological, economic, legal-political, socio-cultural and international) and micro (customers/clients, competitors, suppliers, labour supply and government policies) influences. Skill shortage still impacting on industry despite higher unemployment rate in NZ. Interviews with dairy farm employers to find out what KSA they require when they appoint dairy farm assistants. Performance gaps were then identified and current training needs not 100% met. More authentic learning systems recommended to bridge the gap.

Last presentation before lunch was an interesting one from Kim Hastwell from Auckland University on ‘potential language, literacy and numeracy challenges of supermarket work.’. Research based on workplace experience for training opportunities programme students. Highest two levels of students in the TOPs courses are afforded opportunities for work experience, mostly in supermarkets. Students were mainly refugee/migrants unfamiliar/ new to NZ culture. Interviews of supermarket markets to find out pre-requisites for employment. None mentioned literacy or numeracy but all mentioned communication skills (mainly oral communication) along with usual work readiness skills. Assumption seemed to have been made by managers that if someone could speak and understand English, they would also have the relevant literacy/numeracy skills. Job demands for ‘customer service’ covered a whole host of actual KSA. Although literacy events did not required extended reading/writing, the supermarket environment is extremely literacy-rich. Numeracy was often ‘embedded’ or ‘invisible’ and required the ability to estimate (sometimes more a spatial perspective), conduct accuracy with mental arithmetic, understand different date formats along with understand graphs and tables. Implications for training needs to include employment pre-requisites couched under specific social and cultural mores, foundation for on the job communication, literacy & numeracy learning needs to be workplace relevant (including voluntary work experience).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spotlight on Tertiary teaching in Canterbury and beyond - some presentations now available

Our ever efficient Ako Aotearoa Academy manager, Helen Dobson has now put up various presentations and submissions generated at the Ako Akotearoa Academy / Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub event in Christchurch held on 26th March.

Especially fortuious is that all the presentations which I missed in the conconcurrent sessions are now available :) Helen has also collated the feedback from the event for the organisers, the Canterbury chapter of the Ako Aotearoa Academy, to assess.  The feedback was overwhelmingly in support of the event, so it looks like there is consensus for another similar event next year.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Skill Acquistion - readings

Over the Easter ‘break’ I worked on my thesis and also did a read up on skill acquisition. Found the book edited by A.M. Williams & N.J. Hodges (2004) – Skill acquisition in sport: research, theory & practice to be helpful.

Most books on skill acquisition are older( pre 1960s) and out of print. Contemporary books on the topic are on sports skills so the above book provides a good example of the genre & provides good overviews of aspects of skills acquisition including individual differences, understanding role of feedback, instructions, demonstrations and the learning process, observational learning and expertise.

Some chapters of the Williams and Hodges book are available on Google books.  In particular, the first chapter by Summers, J. J. – a historical perspective of skill acquisition is a good summary and revision.  The next three sections cover a good range of articles on the information processing perspectives, expertise approach and the newer ecological/dynamic systems approach to studying skills acquisition. This book provides more studies / details on the last approach ‘dynamics of skill acquisition: a constraints –led approach by Keith Davids, Chris Button and Simon Bennett.

Other books in the CPIT library include ‘Motor learning and performance: a situation-based learning approach’ by Richard Schmidt and Craig Wrisberg. A textbook on the topic. Well structured and covers the important background theories on motor learning. Has good real world examples. Highly readable. Some chapters available as previews on Google books.

Motor control, learning and development (2008) by Andrea Utley and Sarah Astill provides a good overview of the essentials in the field including classification of skill, theories of motor control and learning, stages in motor learning, implications for practice and the role and function of feedback. A more detailed / higher level version of above is ‘Motor learning and control: concepts and applications’ (2007) by Richard A. Mcgill. Well laid out as a text book with good overviews of the precepts of the field. This book is supported by a website which has review questions/quizzes, weblinks and related readings. Also a preview of 9th edition with chapters 1 & 3 with details of Gentile’s taxonomy on page 12 which may be useful for coding purposes in our project.

The other book which is important is the older NCVER publication edited by John Stevenson. Almost every chapter in Cognition at work (1994) is pertinent to our project. A newer book (2003) also edited by John Stevenson ‘ Developing vocational expertise: Principles and issues in vocational education’ is more generalised. A slightly newer book, Cognition and communication at work edited by Y. Engestrom and D. Middleton has previews on google books. Again most chapters are pertinent. Chapter 2 by Edwin Hutchins & Tove Klausen on ‘distributed cognition in an airline cockpit’ has a good description of how to find meaning using videos and audio recordings of a complex work tasks.

There are also pertinent chapters in the book ‘workplace learning in context’ edited by Helen Rainbird, Alison Fuller & Anne Munro. Preview of many chapters on Google books. Three chapters of relevance from this book. Chapter 11 by Michael Young on ‘conceptualising vocational knowledge: Some theorectical considerations’ provides background and theorectical foundations which updates and extend on precepts used in the ‘Cognition at work’ book. Chapter 12 by Michael Eraut on ‘transfer of knowledge between education and workplace settings’ provides a framework to understand the knowledge found in the workplace. We can adjust this framework to extend on Nuttall’s recommendation for analysing concepts to be learnt in a classroom. Chapter 9 by Yrjo Engestrom on ‘the new generation of expertise’ presents 7 thesis on a new way to understand expertise. This book also has chapters on learning through work by Stephen Billett, expansive learning environments by Alison Fuller and Lorna Unwin, learner biographies by Karen Evans, Natasha Kersch and Akiko Sakamoto, conception and measurement of learning at work by Paul Hager and complexities of workplace learning – problems and dangers in trying to measure attainment by Phil and Heather Hodkinson.