Monday, December 04, 2017

Reflection - a week of conferencing

Two conferences last week provided some time away from the usual busy work routine. Importantly, the week allowed for time to catch up with others practitioners, passionate about helping learners. Always energised after a week away by presentations on applying precepts of good learning, to various approaches and strategies to assist learners.

Things that would be helpful for my own practice as an educational developer and researcher include:

- need to understand the exigencies of teaching from the experiences of teachers and students. For teachers, is to be empathetic with time-pressured and resource lean situations. To build good relationships with teachers and to provide possible solutions which are doable. Thinking through, together (teacher and ed.developer) to agree on a goal and to work towards the objective in small achievable steps. The 'inquiry cycle' as small interventions, each informing another cycle, has been a major plus for the e-assessment project.
For students, it is important to 'make the learning visible'. Too often, students do not know WHY they are having to engage in a learning activity or assessment. Learning outcomes require iteration throughout a course, not just at the start when the course outline or equivalent is waved in from of them, or they are told that the course outline is to be found on the institution's learning management system! Students are time jealous and will only do what is required to 'pass', but many do not actually learn, let alone change behaviours, attitudes or perceptions.

- There is still limited understanding across the ITP and ITO sectors, of the implications of NZ qualifications being graduate profile based. To some, the graduate profiles just add another layer to a complex schedule of atomised and siloed assessments! Moderation, in particular post - moderation of assessments, is still seen to be the checking of content covered :( Hence 'consistency arrangements' whereby qualification deliverers have to rationalise how their graduates meet the graduate profiles, are seen to be another assessment moderation process (aargh).

- Still confusion as to WHAT are assessments FOR learning. Calling them formative may not always be correct. Requirements to have summative assessments for courses, makes it difficult, in time poor courses, which are filled with content, to 'fit in' assessments for learning. There needs to be more work done, to help teachers understand how to 'design' and develop assessments for learning which provide benefit to learners. Exemplars across various discipline areas may be helpful.

So, much work still to be done. However, above provides a tighter framework to report on the e-assessments for learning project. the project 'guidelines' will need to provide:
- connection between assessments for learning and qualification graduate profiles
- examples of assessments for learning across several discipline areas
- comparison of assessments for and of learning for these discipline areas
- approaches to learning appropriate to required knowledge, skills and attitude learning
- links the above to constructivist (intra-psychological) and socio- cultural / socio -material (inter-psychological) learning
- templates for decision making  / design of assessments for learning as connected to approaches to learning
- Learning 'activities' suited to meeting holistic attainment of graduate profiles i.e. problem/inquiry- based, projects, portfolios etc.
- how to match these with appropriate technology to enhance student learning

Above provides a way forward for thinking through over the summer :)

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