On the Challenges of Designing Learning
When designing teaching, learning and/or training sessions and modules we all commence with learning outcomes, official or unofficial. These provide a good statement of what our learners at the end of a set time should be able to demonstrate. These are then translated into aligned learning materials and in due course summative assessments.
At certain points in the teaching cycle we will “gather information about the success of our teaching, assessment and feedback in enabling students to meet the intended outcomes” (UKPSF K5 dimension). Perhaps we find:
a) Time has moved on and the materials are now out of date
b) Feedback we gained for sessions and/or assessment let us know that we needed to make some adaptions to support engagement / motivation / active learning for our whole cohort or certain sub-groups.
Often, we are responsible for creating learning materials on our own as a module or session lead and may be the only one in our institution that teaches a specific subject. Whatever the situation, there will be times when we stare at a session or module and feel a little stuck or just need to chat through teaching or workshop ideas.
Community Co-creation Across Institutional Borders
I am programme lead for the Distance Learning Postgraduate Certificate of Teaching in Higher Education at the University of Birmingham as well as the designated Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) “expert” in the Educational Development team. Knowing that the TEL session (of 3 contact hours) was coming up in a few months I recently sat down to review and start planning. The TEL sessions have been very much influenced by the pandemic over the last few years and some themes, messaging and terminology needed to be updated.
What to do? Co-creation sprang to mind. A plan started to evolve:
1) I firstly pivoted to our wonderful HEFi Digital Education community, making a call for any that were interested and had the time and desire to join me in redesigning the TEL session. They are at the coal-face, working closely with academic and professional services colleagues and can bring a perspective I no longer have access to.
2) Secondly it is important to ask our learner participants on the PGCHE programme – I made a note in my calendar.
3) Thirdly, I’ve a wonderful national and international Higher Education community that I can reach out to via Twitter. What about cocreating a TEL session on a grander scale? If I’m considering how to redesign such a topical session, surely others are too or at least will have an opinion on its focus and themes.
On the 5th of October I put my first call out on Twitter (tagging as many colleagues as a tweet would allow) to help start and promote some co-creation beyond institutional borders. I asked:
“What would you include in a #TEL focused session within a #PGCHE course? Looking for ideas to inspire 💡” (https://twitter.com/hintondm/status/1577780076560654341).
The response was wonderful and beyond inspiring. Colleagues from around the UK, Europe and Australasia added their ideas to the thread which kept pinging for two solid days. One of the many themes that emerged was around TEL terminology. Reference was made to the epic “Different ‘modes’ of learning” diagram created by @suebecks which
“considers the different ways students may engage in learning: in-person, fully distant, hybrid (some classes in-person, some online), hyflex (students choose the mode), blended (in-person with a blend of activities) + self-directed” https://twitter.com/suebecks/status/1430438279934058502?lang=en-GB .
Conversations then jokingly introduced a the newest term on the block – “hyblendoflexical”, coined by @mart_compton. This sparked my sense of humour and I subsequently started another community call for participation / co-creation of a mythical, co-delivered and cross institutional “MSc in Hyblendoflexical Teaching and Learning”. The thread called for module leads and module titles and sparked a whole host of allied conversations about programme structure, attendance, grading, workload allocation models and so much more led in part by @mart_compton, @Puiyin and myself.
💬 Co-creation of a PGCLTHE module titled “Becoming a Critically Reflective Educator”
My “call to arms” for the October 19th 22 LTHEchat revolves around the community co-creation of a PGCLTHE module called “Becoming a Critically Reflective Educator” inspired by the book: Brookfield, S.D., (2017) Becoming a critically reflective teacher. John Wiley & Sons.
Key Contextual Information for this Mythical Module:
- Programme of Study: This course will be situated within a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGCLTHE).
- Level: Master’s level – 20 credit module which is assessed against a set of University quality assured Learning Outcomes and against the UKPSF D2 fellowship descriptors.
- Length: The module runs over a six month period with five sessions, each of three student contact hours.
- Teaching Team: team taught by a mixture of academic and third space professionals.
- Learners: Our learners are a mixture of mostly early career academic and pracademic colleagues (probationary requirement) along with some third space and professional services staff that teach and/or support learning. Our learners’ disciplines range from the Social Sciences and Humanities (eg. Business, Social Work, Politics, International Development, Education, Languages, Law & Arts) to STEM (eg. Engineering, Sport and Exercise Sciences, Geography, Biosciences, Psychology & Dentistry). The exact disciplinary demographics change with every cohort. We recruit aprox. 35 participants per cohort.
- Focus: research-informed.
Come along on the 19th October, 8-9pm BST (and anytime afterwards) to contribute to the 6 tweet trigger questions and help co-create themes / activities / readings that might be included in a range of 3hr PGCLTHE sessions.
📸 Chat Lead Biography: Danielle Hinton (SFHEA)
Danielle is a member of the Educational Development team and former Instructional Designer within the Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi) at the University of Birmingham. She is the programme lead for the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (Distance Learning) and leads the HEFi monthly Reading Group (https://twitter.com/HEFi_reading). She mentors and assesses on the HEFi Beacon HEA Fellowship scheme, contributes to educational enhancement projects and facilitates teaching related CPD. Her interests include Active Blended Learning, Lego Serious Play, teaching identity (including EDI from a faith-based perspective), academic transitions to HE teaching and the emotions of teaching and learning. She authored the “Curriculum Futures Situational Factors in Learning Design” framework.
- Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielle-hinton-59530a21/
- National Teaching Repository contributions: https://figshare.edgehill.ac.uk/search?q=Danielle+Hinton