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.