#LTHEChat193 @Dr_Chris_Wiley ‘Evaluating Student Evaluation of Teaching’

Student evaluation of teaching (SET) is routinely implemented at institutions across the UK and internationally, partly in response to the increased weight given in recent years to national measures of student satisfaction. Yet multiple studies have indicated that SET may be influenced by many factors other than the quality of teaching itself, including the teacher’s race and gender, fluency of delivery, class size, whether the module is compulsory or elective, students’ workload and the grades they are awarded.

This #LTHEchat will explore current SET practices at different institutions and ask by what other ways teachers might obtain feedback on their teaching in order to bring about positive changes to the students’ learning experience in a more meaningful and timely manner. It appears by way of a prelude to the forthcoming SEDA Special Student Evaluation of Teaching: From Performance Management to Quality Enhancement, which, through a series of inter/national case studies, explores methods for developing SET, alternative approaches to the standard questionnaire, and ways to engage students more actively with the process.

Dr Christopher Wiley is Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Surrey. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2013 and attained Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2017. He holds postgraduate qualifications in both music and education, including the degree of MA in Academic Practice from City University London (2014). In addition to his internationally recognised research in musicology, Chris has conducted pedagogic research leading to journal articles in Studies in Educational Evaluation; Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education; Arts and Humanities in Higher Education; and The International Journal of Assessment and Evaluation. He has presented at international conferences of education across Europe, and delivered learning and teaching workshops at a dozen UK universities. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming SEDA Special, Student Evaluation of Teaching: From Performance Management to Quality Enhancement. http://surrey.ac.uk/people/christopher-wiley christopherwiley

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#LTHEchat192 Just as nice to give as receive with Guest hosts Dr Kate Cuthbert @cuthbert_kate Dr Safia Barikzai @SafiaBarikzai and Dr Dawne Irving-Bell @belld17

The tradition of exchanging gifts has a long heritage (cave man popped up in a google search but best not rely too heavily on that!) It is also something that transcends religions, cultures and geographical boundaries. Whilst there are nuances in the symbolism of gift exchanges, the themes of friendship, good will and wellbeing reoccur. After the year we have all experienced it seems fitting to adopt a form of gift giving into the final #LTHEchat of the year.

Over the last months we have shared ideas, connected with each other through shared challenges and sometimes just tipped up at 8pm to be amongst friends who know. Who knew that in just 280 characters there could be evidence of kindness, collaboration and generosity? We have had a rich schedule this semester; thank you to those who have provide stimulus and searching questions. Thank you to participants who have chewed over topics and sparked conversations.

So, on Wednesday we are going to facilitate a tweetchat that has gift giving at its heart, (with a learning and teaching twist). Here’s how it will work. Below you will find a gift list. Before Wednesday we would like you to go searching for “gifts” that you would like to bring to the #LTHEchat community.  The gifts could be taken by the recipient and applied to their practice either in terms of their work with learners, colleagues or peers. Gifts could be your advice, your reflection or your recommendations for the individual to explore. Links, papers, resources are very much welcomed.

#LTHEchat gift list

  1. A feedback strategy or technique that has made a difference
  2. A piece of equipment (could be digital or not) that you value in your practice
  3. A contribution to the way in which learners engage with research (could be teaching research/ could be developing peers/ could be scholarship development)
  4. A gift to those who are facilitating group work
  5. A gift to those who are developing critical thinkers and critical writers
  6. A book or film recommendation to a friend that takes them into 2021

Dr Kate Cuthbert (PFHEA) leads the Professional Recognition Scheme at Nottingham Trent University. She is on a mission to create community around fellowship to prevent feelings of isolation or imposter syndrome. She has applied her academic background of psychology to interprofessional learning, patient safety and teaching development. @cuthbert_kate

Dr Safia Barikzai is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at London South Bank University. Known to “play” with 3-D printers she is passionate about encouraging more girls to study engineering subjects through playful pedagogies, playful coding, and Lego Robotics. @SafiaBarikzai

Dr Dawne Irving-Bell is the Centre for Learning and Teaching Projects Lead and a Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Learning Development at Edge Hill University. She can draw a bit and uses sketchnoting as a personal tool to organize her thoughts. In her teaching, she uses ‘sketchnotes’ both to communicate her perspective and help students develop techniques for their own use. @belld17

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#LTHEchat191 Challenges with online assessments in the COVID learning environment with host Dr Carina Ginty @carinaginty

Designing and managing online assessment is proving a challenging task this year among the academic community. The COVID remote learning emergency has placed huge demands on lecturer’s time and there are concerns around managing academic integrity across all disciplines. In response to these challenges and to support colleagues’ engagement with online assessment, I developed a short online assessment guide, with input from a wide range of stakeholders including the GMIT Teaching and Learning Office team, our Digital Champions lecturer network and professional services colleagues in quality assurance and exams administration. This Online Assessment Guide showcased on our http://DigitalEd.ie knowledge platform, presents five sections including:

Section 1: A range of online terminal exam/assessment options, requirements, set up and quality considerations. 

Section 2: Selecting online alternatives to common assessment methods.

Section 3: Academic integrity considerations.

Section 4: A programme of assessment themed training events including webinars and workshops. Plus, learning technology design clinics (AMA on Assessment – Ask Me Anything, 15-minute express clinics).

Section 5: Additional assessment resources, you may choose to explore.

Please do visit the resources and consider your practice in light of the information. Think about how your practice has evolved over these last months. How has infrastructure changed and what things are you noticing in the HE community, that is growing up around assessment in the COVID climate.

I’m looking forward to learning from the LTHE Twitter network on Wednesday December 9th and sharing ideas of best practice on online assessment!

Dr Carina Ginty is the Teaching and Learning Officer and a Lecturer in Teaching and Learning at GMIT. Carina manages the teaching and learning office and collaborates with academic and professional services colleagues across five campuses developing innovative teaching practices and engaging student learning experiences. She has led a variety of education development projects for GMIT and higher education partners in Ireland and internationally on: professional development of teaching in HE; student leadership and engagement (PASS programme); digital capabilities and leadership; mentoring; community engagement; recognition of prior learning; ePortfolios; assessment; online and blended learning design; transitions, retention and the first year experience.

https://www.gmit.ie/about/teaching-and-learning-lecturer/dr-carina-ginty

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#LTHEchat190 Virtual Student Partnerships with host Kiu Sum @KiuSum

I have unfortunately ascertained a headache from pondering. Not just my day job but something else relating to student engagement. So, I need your help! Here I am sharing my short version of the back story and hope you can collaboratively help connect the pieces…

The phrase ‘staff-student partnership’ was something I got accustomed to during my undergraduate years. Being involved in partnership projects at university provided me with an insight into how the higher education system work – from increasing my awareness of other university services to seeing the emphasis placed on students’ learning being the ‘heart of the university’. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of our ‘Students as Co-Creators’ scheme at university and collaboratively working with staff and students across different disciplines to work on projects that matter to us. It was at university where I learnt partnership to be a reciprocal process where students had a shared responsibility for shaping our learning and teaching experiences. Through such collaborations, I am embracing I am a student with a place in the community and not simply passing through the system.

A few years on since that story began and 9 months on since I last stepped into my office on campus; that isolation feeling that I once had this time last year came back. Now having to work from home yet somewhat finding my motivation is challenging at times. The waving from across the corridors or chasing after someone on the staircases when in need to ask them a question was something that we could no longer do. Yet being part of staff-student partnerships pre-pandemic was more than ‘just completing a project’ – but rather able to engage with university campuses more easily without having to ‘pre-book’ a slot days ahead knowing you have exactly 60 minutes in a 60 minutes meeting. Reflecting on the ‘old norms’, it was so much easier to develop our learning capabilities without many barriers. But conversely, online partnerships unite classrooms around the world, offering the benefits in engaging with others who we never thought of interacting with before. (For once, I certainly did, and was able to connect with other researchers around the world! Strange times…)

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down and on so many levels has created situations both personally and professionally which we are constantly adapting to. We know that partnership schemes are still there in our institutions but maintaining that energy and motivation for virtual partnerships is another matter which no-one has a clear answer to. We are still learning to create a ‘new normal’ where students are learning using innovations and partnerships, with available supports for not only the academic problems but also the profound emotionally and psychologically effects that come with this pandemic. Without the traditional means of support, we are all doing our best to build this newfound virtual connection with our students and colleagues.

Many questions have been floating in my mind having conversed with others on enhancing partnership virtually: “Would staff-student partnership be as effective virtually than in person? Could we ever create the new norm nurturing virtual partnerships in the future?”

So here is where I need help from #LTHEchat-ers!

A partnership is about investing and empowering students to co-create, not just extending their learning and knowledge in their field but also our educational system. But what do we perceive virtual student partnerships to be? Could we ever make them as effective as in-person partnerships? Is there a toolkit or the most important question is… is there any framework?

Please bring your ideas and hopefully we can collaboratively unwrap this headache I have…

Kiu Sum is a Doctoral Researcher in nutrition at the University of Westminster. Her research predominantly explores the impacts of workplace nutrition and dietary behaviour of healthcare professionals undertaking shift work and the impacts on their mood and emotions. Kiu found her interest in student engagement activities through participating in ‘Students as Co-Creators’ projects of which she’s also a Student Ambassador and continuing to collaboratively work with staff and students on pedagogy research focusing on student experience, engagement, partnerships and assessments and feedback. Kiu serves as the Student Officer on the RAISE committee, Chair of the Student Section at The Nutrition Society and currently guest editing the next issue of the ‘Journal for Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change’. As a side hobby, Kiu also hosts ‘The Education Burrito’ Podcast, unwrapping student engagement and pedagogy approaches in higher education.

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#LTHEchat189: Bringing Scholarship to Life with host Dr Sarah Broadberry @DrSBroadberry

I have been on the trail of scholarship for a long time now, trying to nail down what that term means as my career in academia progresses, what it means to me as part of a teaching team and how it is recognised in parallel with research within my institution and discipline. I am driven by a recognised need to ensure equal parity of esteem for scholarship, as is afforded research (Grant and Wakelin, 2009; Boyer, 1996; Metzler, 1994). Could equal parity of esteem for scholarship retain highly experienced colleagues who may have traditionally chosen to leave the higher education sector due to lack of non-research focused career opportunities? Valuing scholarship may thus, support the pursuit, recognition and reward of excellent learning and teaching, perhaps resulting in sustainable careers in learning and teaching. It cuts to the heart of professional identity.

As recognised by Prager (2010), scholarship matters at three academic levels; within the institution, within disciplines and within HE in general. But to achieve a meaningful representation of scholarship for the purposes of development, recognition and parity, perhaps we need to go personal and take a more granular approach. This would mean considering how scholarship is experienced and played out across the many agents of scholarship throughout all the roles within a university.

Encapsulating scholarship in career progression is tricky and many institutions have fallen back onto publications and research outputs as key measures of scholarship (Boyer, 1996). Are we measuring the right thing both in terms of process, practice and outcomes of scholarship? Is there is scope for scholarship to be valued through what it provides, rather than its intellectual contribution (Hart, 2018)? As proposed by Nicholls (2007), scholarship is intrinsically focused on student learning, rather than on ‘what the teacher does’, as was originally proposed by Boyer (1990). Full recognition for scholarship will only be possible with activities and outcome measures that better represent the lived experience of scholarship. I would like to use this #LTHEchat to bring ‘Scholarship to life’; to consider scholarship’s social and cultural capital that is seen at the institutional, disciplinary and personal level. I need your help!

Please bring to the chat your ideas and experiences of scholarship. Let’s share interpretations, interrogate similarities and nuances. How about us digging into the contributions the various roles across the institutions bring to scholarship? Can this chat enrich interpretations about the process, practice and outputs of scholarship?

References

Boyer, E.L., 1996. From scholarship reconsidered to scholarship assessed. Quest, 48(2), 129-139.

Grant, K. and Wakelin, S.J., 2009. Re-conceptualising the concept of a nexus? A survey of 12 Scottish IS/IM academics’ perceptions of a nexus between teaching, research, scholarship and consultancy.  Teaching in Higher Education. Critical Perspectives, 14(2), 133-146.

Hart, R., 2018. Valuing Scholarship. Canadian Review of Sociology, 55(2), 309-310. 

Metzler, M.W., 1994. Scholarship reconsidered for the professoriate of 2010. Quest, 46(4), 440-455.

Nicholls, G., 2007. Scholarship in teaching as a core professional value: What does this mean to the academic? Teaching in Higher Education, 9(1), 29-42.

Prager, C., 2003. Scholarship matters. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 27(7), 579-592. 

Stappenbelt, B., 2013. The effectiveness of the teaching-research nexus in facilitating student learning. Engineering Education, 8(1), 111-121.

Dr Sarah Broadberry (SFHEA) is a Principal Lecturer in the Animal and Equine Science department and Athena SWAN Champion at Nottingham Trent University. She chairs the School Trent Institute of Teaching and Learning Teaching and Scholarship Group. Sarah has developed expertise in team-based learning and regularly contributes to the PG Cert in Learning and Teaching and the Professional Recognition Scheme.

Here’s the wakelet from the chat https://wakelet.com/wake/sOcVcdS46cbVkBThiCD4A

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#LTHEchat188: The role of a systems approach in successfully supporting learning, students and staff with host Prof Colin Turner @ProfCTurner

Systems are an integral feature of the landscape in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. In a narrow view we often think of systems as specific IT packages that support our key activity, but equally systems can be paper based or just a way of thinking of the human interactions with and between students and the staff delivering an educational experience.

Often, we place an emphasis on systems that are directly involved in the delivery of learning resources and/or assessment to students – the dependence on critical IT systems to do this in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic has become very clear. However, the utility of systems in the broadest sense that support academic and professional services staff in administrative tasks should not be underestimated. Time and attention are precious resources and staff (and students) often struggle to balance workload – systems that aid in this can have a strong, if indirect, effect on the student experience and outcomes.

While conscious design often plays a part in most of our systems, a level of organic evolution is often useful too, as all the “edge cases” of everyday working are often not picked up at the design stage. Similarly, evaluation of our systems tends to range from very formal exercises to much more ad-hoc approaches.

This LTHE chat will invite a discussion on whether there are benefits to taking a more systems based approach to Learning and Teaching in the broadest sense, and also to explore what are the features of successful approaches to delivering and support learning, and supporting staff and students.

See also:

https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/news-and-views/How-systems-can-transform-the-student-experience

Professor Colin Turner is Interim Dean of Learning Enhancement and Professor of Engineering Education at Ulster University and has been leading much of Ulster’s institutional Learning and Teaching response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He served as Head of the School of Engineering at Ulster from 2010 to 2018. He obtained his degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics and his PhD in Mathematics from Queen’s University Belfast. He then joined Ulster University as a Lecturer in Mathematics, Computing and Statistics and undertaking Cardiovascular research with the Royal Victoria Hospital and NIBEC (Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre). Colin’s teaching interests are Engineering Mathematics, Reliability theory and Software development for Engineers – and also in reforming curricula to improve retention, while building student led initiatives to transform student learning. He has experience in designing and building enterprise software solutions for learning support with national impact, especially in the area of employability; he served as an Executive Committee member and Trustee for ASET, the UK body for placement professionals from 2013 to 2019. Colin is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET), a Fellow of the Institution of Mathematics and its Applications (FIMA), a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), a National Teaching Fellow. He is the current President of the Engineering Professors’ Council. He is a member of the advisory group of Learned Societies and Professional Bodies for the All-Party Group for Science and Technology at the Northern Ireland Assembly. You can find out more about his IT systems work on his GitHub page or personal blog.

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#LTHEchat187: Planning for January with host Michelle Morgan (@it_se)

Paul Greatix (@registrarism) wrote a brutal and refreshingly honest piece on Wonkhe asking if universities had done the right things under covid19.  https://wonkhe.com/blogs/doing-the-right-things-universities-under-covid/

In his piece, he talks about the challenges facing universities in the absence Government and sector regulators providing meaningful advice and the exhaustion of staff having to navigate the constantly changing choppy waters.

We have seen the coverage of distressed new students having to isolate and feeling that the experience they are receiving is quite different to the one promised. Their orientation and induction to study processes have been greatly disrupted which is likely to impact on withdrawal rates. Our returning students will have gaps in their learning experience no matter how hard course and module leaders have tried to bridge them. And our final year student, who will have experienced disruption of most of their course by the time they complete their studies, face a bleak workplace on completion.

In his final sentence Paul states that it is time to ‘stick together as one university community (not a two tier one), work with our local communities too, stay optimistic, look after our students and look positively to the future’. However, in light of recent government guidelines, we need to review arrangements. Universities we are told will remain open, but in my view only online teaching by exception should happen.

So, with January fast approaching and Covid19 progressively worsening, this LTHE chat invites the community to consider what pedagogic lessons have been learnt in the past 7 months, and how we can move forward in supporting students’ learning and post study success as well as the wellbeing of our academic community. 

Michelle Morgan @it_se is a higher education consultant. Previously she was associate professor and associate dean of the student experience at Bournemouth University.

Michelle is extensively published in the area of supporting student diversity and improving the student learning experience at undergraduate and postgraduate taught level in, through and out of the student study journey. Her two edited books that revolve around her Student Experience Transitions Model (SET) are designed to help academic and professional service colleagues support students. She has developed a free portal for staff which provides a range of information and links for anyone interested in improving the student experience in higher education www.improvingthestudentexperience.com

During her varied career, Michelle has been a Faculty Manager, Researcher and Academic. She describes herself as a ‘Third Space Professional’ student experience practitioner who develops initiatives based on pragmatic and practical research. Michelle has over 50 publications and has presented over 100 national and international conference papers (including 44 keynotes and 30 invited papers). She co-wrote and co-presented a 5 part Radio series for BBC China in 2011 on the student learning experience.

Michelle was creator and PI/Project Lead of an innovative £2.7 million 11 university collaborative HEFCE grant looking atthe study expectations and attitudes of postgraduate taught (PGT) students.The project report received praise from across the sector including UKCGE, OFFA, the HEA and the Engineering Professor’s Council. www.postgradexperience.org

Michelle is a Principal Fellow of the HEA, Fellow of the AUA and a Council member of UKCGE. She is a Student Minds Mental Health Assessor and for a second year, she is a judge on The Guardian University awards panel.

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#LTHEchat186: The Value of Fiction in Learning and Teaching

Guest host Professor Joanna Verran @JoVerran

I think we all tell stories all the time. Think of any conversation! Storytelling dates back to when humans started to speak: they helped us to survive, and we remain receptive to a good tale!

Teaching medical microbiology, I found that stories of disease outbreaks, or personalised case studies helped me to better convey the principles of epidemiology, contextualising the facts, crossing disciplines (into history or geography for example), and helping to knit the facts into a more memorable setting. Indeed, much of my teaching practice (and my lab-based research) encompassed cross-disciplinary collaboration ( Who inspired my thinking? – The co-factor: conversation, collaboration, co-production DOI: 10.14324/RFA.04.2.12): I believed this made microbiology seem more part of the world we live in. Of course at the moment, it is not easy to escape from microbiology in the real world!

But what about fiction? Does fiction have a value in learning and teaching other than in English Literature? I set up the Bad Bugs Bookclub (https://www.mmu.ac.uk/engage/what-we-do/bad-bugs-bookclub/ ) in 2009. Initially the bookclub was unrelated to my teaching. My aim was to get adult scientists and non-scientists to read fiction in which infectious disease formed part of the plot. Meetings are informal, and everyone has something to bring to the discussion, since we all have read the book. Eleven years on, the website, documents meetings and provides reading guides for more than 60 books. I have found the format useful for education and science communication in a variety of settings including undergraduate projects, tutorials and school book groups. I have certainly also learned a lot myself ( https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/09/29/joanna-verran-the-bad-bugs-book-club-a-study-in-infectious-disease-and-humanity/).

Since turnover time is very quick from posting this blog, to hosting the chat on 21st October, can I suggest some preparation activities? Look at the website and check whether you have already read any of the books (or watched the movie!). Look at the meeting notes for that book, and see if the fiction can be used to discuss ‘fact’ within your discipline.

Joanna Verran is Emeritus Professor of Microbiology at Manchester Metropolitan University. In addition to her laboratory-based research, Jo always strove to encourage the development of ‘transferable skills’ in her students, through the use of art, design, literature and public engagement. She was awarded an NTF in 2012, and PFHEA in 2016, and the AAAS Mani L Bhaumik award for Public Engagement with Science in 2019, alongside an MA in Creative Writing (of which she is particularly proud!).

Beyond the #LTHEchat on 21st October;

If your tastebuds are tickled, set up your own one-off bookclub (I can send you our discussion questions), and join our Twitter meeting on November 19th, where we will be discussing The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith. The novel addresses antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the meeting is being held during World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

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#LTHEchat185: Debunking Neuromyths in Education: What psychology really tells us

Guest Host Dr Linda K. Kaye @LindaKKaye

Effective educators are responsive to the learning needs of their students, and develop inclusive educational resources and provision as a way of accommodating the diverse range of learners. Learners can of course vary considerably in many ways from demographic characteristics, personality, cognitive ability and varied approaches of learning. It is not uncommon for educators to seek strategies to support these diversities yet may often fall into the trap of using what they believe to be empirically-valid strategies.

Unfortunately, not all these strategies are supported by valid evidence. These are what we often refer to as “neuromyths”; commonly used pedagogic strategies which are assumed to be scientifically-informed yet unfortunately do not hold water in the psychological or neuroscience literature. A very common neuromyth is that of “learning styles” which has been the attention of many educationalists for decades but most commonly operationalised in the “VAK” typology. This suggests that learners assume a way of learning either as a “visual learner”, “auditory learner” or “kinaesthetic learner”. Despite this being commonplace in teacher education and educational practice, there is no evidence to suggest that there are neurological or cognitive variations between “learner types” when engaged in learning tasks. Learning styles is one neuromyth which has come under significant scrutiny (Dekker et al., 2012; Husmann & O’Loughlin, 2018; Li et al., 2016; Papadatou-Pastou et al., 2018).

Unfortunately, learning styles are not the only neuromyth evident in educational practice. Others include; right-brain/left-brain, and purely genetically determined intelligence. Recent research has suggested that among college-level staff, 97% and 77% endorse learning styles and right brain/left brain neuromyths respectively, although only 20% endorse genetically-determined intelligence (Boser, 2019). Clearly there is some work to do to ensure that research-informed practice is integrated into teacher education and training.

References

Boser, U. (2019). What Do Teachers Know About The Science of Learning? TheLearning Agency [online]. Retrieved  September, 22 2020, from: https://www.the-learningagency.com/insights/what-do-teachers-know-about-the-science-of-learning

Dekker, S., Lee, N. C., Howard-Jones, P., & Jolles, J. (2012). Neuromyths in education: prevalence and predictors of misconceptions among teachers. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 429. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00429

Husmann, P. R., & O’Loughlin, V. D. (2018). Another nail in the coffin for learning styles? Disparities among undergraduate anatomy students’ study strategies, class performance, and reported VARK learning styles. Anatomical Sciences Education. doi: 10.1002/ase.1777

Li, Y., Medwell, J., Wray, D., Wang, L., & Liu, X. (2016). Learning Styles: A Review of Validity and Usefulness. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 4 (10), 90-94

Papadatou-Pastou., Gritzali, M., & Barrable, A. (2018). The Learning Styles Educational Neuromyth: Lack of Agreement Between Teachers’ Judgments, Self-Assessment, and Students’ Intelligence. Frontiers in Education, 3, https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2018.00105

Dr Linda K. Kaye is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Edge Hill University (UK). Her area of specialism is cyberpsychology which relates to the psychological experiences associated with new technologies and aspects of the Internet. She also has interests in the psychology of learning and teaching, particularly how to support collaborative based learning through technology.

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#LTHEchat184: Does learning need to be designed and what roles are involved in learning design?

Guest hosts Sandra Huskinson @fieryred1 and Matt Cornnock @mattcornnock

As Covid-19 prompts further moves towards online learning, in this chat we endeavour to debate, investigate and identify what we mean by learning design and how it can help educators repurpose their teaching in challenging times.

Learning designers collaborate with educators to create activities that enable students to meet learning outcomes. With many educators having to radically redesign their approach to courses for online, blended, hybrid or dual teaching, navigating the decisions about what, how and why to teach a particular way can be challenging if you don’t have access to expertise in online instructional design. In June of this year following a tweet by Leonard Houx @leonardhoux, Neil Mosley @neilmosley5 posted a tweet about learning designers:

“For a long time HEIs have not understood these roles and they were too few… as Leonard says, it’s a highly skilled role and it’s a shame that the sector has woken up to the need of learning/instructional designers when there’s too few with the skills and experience to go round.”

This observation sparked a discussion on Twitter and between Matt and I about what we thought learning design is, whose role learning design sits with and what skills and knowledge such roles require. Matt had already been blogging about this topic particularly the role of learning technologists as learning designers.

Learning Design, in the formal sense, attempts to describe a sequence of learning and teaching activities, usually then applied to a specific cohort to provide a scaffold for learning (Dalziel, et al., 2016). This will be influenced by many factors, including the educator’s predisposition towards certain pedagogies, discipline pedagogy and the mode of teaching expected (online, face-to-face, blended). We therefore champion collaboration with learning designers, learning technologists or educational advisers, not to implement an online equivalent, but to challenge thinking and design learning and teaching activities that will enable students to progress across modes.

In the current situation, going back to basics, learning design is essentially planning what the educator and learner are doing and what resources are required at each point in a learning process. This can be designed at each “level of granularity” of the programme, module, session and activity level (Dalziel, et al., 2016), and adopting departmental approaches can provide coherence and scalability of learning designs.

This #LTHEchat will challenge you to think about how learning design approaches apply in your own context, identify those who play a role in learning design and reflect on the transferability of learning designs across online and offline spaces.

Additional resources

To get you thinking about the role of learning technologists, The Association of Learning Technology published a series on “What makes a Learning Technologist?” (Daniel Scott, Simon Thomson, Chris Melia).

Learning design: where do we go from here? Dalziel 2016

Young, C. and Perović, N. (2016) Rapid and Creative Course Design: As Easy as ABC? Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 228, 390-395 https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/abc-ld/

Active Blended Learning https://www.northampton.ac.uk/ilt/current-projects/defining-abl/

Sandra Huskinson has held a variety of roles including medical artist, design manager and now works part-time for Loughborough University as an Enhanced Learning Officer whilst work as a freelance consultant providing elearning and multimedia consultancy for a variety of organisations.  https://fieryred.co.uk/

Matt Cornock leads the online CPD programme at STEM Learning, providing professional development for teachers on FutureLearn. Matt has previously worked in higher education and is a Senior Certified Member of ALT, with 15 years experience supporting academic colleagues with learning technologies, blended learning design and evaluation of learning and teaching. (mattcornock.co.uk)

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