Using models of learning practice to assist students in transition


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  • Just a quick overview of what we intend to cover in this short paper session. I am Colette Murphy (Staff Development Officer) and this is Vilinda Ross (CIES Researcher). We work in a Centre for Excellence in T&L based in Northern Ireland. Its one of 81 Centres based throughout the UK. Today we will tell you a little about the overall work of our Centre but we will be focusing in on one particular tool that we have developed – The Hybrid Learning Model- a teaching and learning reference model that has been developed (based on and adapting existing learning design models and tools) and used with staff and students of University of Ulster. This has been used to construct models of academic practice. Over the last 2 years we have been using the model to assist Year 1 students to adapt to new learning situations and that’s what the session will focus on today. There will time at the end for questions.
  • Hybrid learning Model 20 August 2009 University of Ulster A learning design approach has been developed which builds on two independent learning design related activities to provide a simple conversational approach to the modeling of the teacher / learner. The focus on the “practice” elements of teaching and learning in both these approaches and the use of universal concepts and verbs had great potential to meet the needs of the project. An overview of the developed “Hybrid Learning Model” (HLM) is described in the following slides.
  • CETL E-Learning Services, University of Ulster The CIES Hybrid Learning Model brings together 2 existing learning design measures – the 8LEM developed by the LabSET project University of Liege and Teaching and learning activity verbs developed by Sue Bennet University of Wollongong. Based on 8 interactions between teacher and learner and proposes that all instances of teaching and learning can be mapped to one or more of these: Receives (Traditional didactic transmission of information: e.g. lecture/content delivery/recommended reading) Debates (learning through social interactions, collaborative, challenging discussions e.g. f2f debates, online discussions Experiments (Learner manipulating the environment to test personal hypotheses e.g. lab work, workshops,) Creates (Creating something new, producing work e.g. essays, projects etc) Imitates (Learning from observation and imitation e.g:modeling/simulation, practicals, walkthrough tutorials, role plays ) Practices (Application of theory and its assessment, to include tutor feedback- e.g. Exam, quiz,) Explores (Personal exploration by learner e.g literature reviews, Internet searches, information handling) Meta-learns (self reflection at the end of a learning process) It focuses on processes and interactions in teaching and learning rather than content, Important to note that no order / number is prescribed Examples : Starting of with a Presentation: Receives, Then a Discussion: Debates, Students create something on their own based on what they have just learnt : Creates / Experiments, Summing up discussion and sharing thoughts: Meta learns
  • Bennett’s Thirty Verbs Wollongong verbs: teachers are comfortable with provide a simple, easy to understand method of describing key teaching and learning activities in plain English. [1] [2] The 30 Verbs were supplied by Sue Bennett through the final meeting of the EU UNFOLD project in Berlin, 2005. Two additional verbs were added to accurately represent the Teachers role (Monitor and Coach)
  • CETL E-Learning Services, University of Ulster Interaction based Model supported by activity verbs, focuses on i nteractions between participants in the learning process . Uses universal concepts and plain English – not requiring a background in educational theory This model is supported by a pack of flash cards , the front of each card depicts the nature of base interaction, the interdependent role of teacher and learner, and provides examples the back of each card has : a closed set of associated teaching and learning verbs to choose from for both the teacher and learner role. The next few slides will show how we use the model / flash cards with practitioners
  • A quick overview of how the model is applied to practice We sit down with the academic, usually in an informal setting and ask them to think about a learning activity. We give them an overview of the basic concepts and verbs involved in the HLM We ask them to give an overview and quick outline of the learning activity and record this on an a4 grid 4. Once the practitioner has had a chance to examine the cards / each individual learning event they begin to map learning events against the activity plan that they been describing. They will generally lay the learning event cards out in a sequence whilst the facilitator records their choices. The academic then decides what learning event is most appropriate to that activity in the learning sequence and records it. Once the sequence of learning events has been selected the practitioner is asked to turn over each learning event card to select verbs that appropriately describe the intended role of both the teacher and learner during that specific interaction. We ask them to consider both their role and the learner role and assign verbs for each of the roles and again we map these to the recording grid. The flash cards are tactile and offer visual prompts providing a useful prompt for reflection as the academic goes through the process regarding their role and the student role. As the practitioner chooses verbs they are asked to note them in terms of priority and provide further prompts for students to clarify exactly how the chosen verb relates to them in the context of their learning, putting the learner at the centre of the learning activity. CETL E-Learning Services, University of Ulster
  • So as you can see learning events, verbs and other essential contextual information are recorded on a simple grid providing a detailed overview with rich information on how a learning activity is taught. It focuses on process rather than content. The whole process usually takes half hour – 1 hour (and can also be done individually as the cards come with simple instructions and a link to a recording grid) CETL E-Learning Services, University of Ulster
  • This is the mapping grid which was developed to record the practice…..and the next slide show the end product.
  • CETL E-Learning Services, University of Ulster As you can see the after contextual information (tools / resources / links to assessment criteria), we end up with a Structured / concise overview rich lesson plan / checklist that outlines and clarifies roles, expectations and simplifies the teaching / learning process into understandable chunks. This output can be presented in a textual grid animation
  • Practitioners were involved in the early development of this tool, it was piloted and evaluated at all stages of the development lifecycle feedback from questionnaires, focus groups and user feedback sessions indicated that they found it- …… as above…..and some early quotes from practitioners….as above It is used within University of Ulster via our Staff Development Unit academic induction Post Graduate Higher Education Practice modules standalone sessions for sharing practice, planning and designing learning activities. Although the tool was initially developed to capture and record practice it became clear that the practice models could be useful and provide valuable support to students adapting to new learning situations I will pass over to Vilinda , she will talk more about the studies with students.
  • I am going to talk about two key aspects of the work that we are doing with Year One students. Firstly, specific studies have been carried out on assisting students to adapt to new learning situations – I will be talking about that in more detail next. I am also going to briefly mention some work that has started and which will be rolled out early in 1 st 2009/2010 semester. This involves the CIES team working alongside the Library at UU. So, our work at UU has included practitioners and is currently progressing towards assisting students through support services. CETL E-Learning Services, University of Ulster
  • Pilot Study with 2 groups of Nursing students. They adapted to using the HLM very quickly and commented that the model would help other students “adapt to the expectation of what is going on” and would be useful “out in practice – to help explain topics”. To date 7 studies have been completed using the HLM with students. - 2 main studies and 4 smaller scale studies have been with 1 st years another larger study has been with 2 nd year Career students A range of new/different learning situations have been modelled with staff and include portfolio and seminars (UBS), labs- 1 st year experiments (Philip Griffiths), software development (Nicola Ayre), module (Claire McCann) and reflective journal (Careers) 2 learning situations reporting on today are completion of a portfolio and a broader aspect of the learning process – completion of a module
  • 2 main studies we will be talking about (portfolio and module) have been completed with the Ulster Business School, UU, 2 different cohorts and 2 different years. The process or methodology included: CIES got together with UBS staff to model an activity with the HLM. The activity was recorded on the mapping grid and was either sent electronically to UBS staff or a further meeting was had to clarify or reconsider the content. A flash animation was created (so as to present the modelled activity to the students in a more engaging way) and handouts with the mapping grid attached were prepared. (2) At the start of semester CIES staff went into class, briefly introduced the model and did a walkthrough presentation of the flash animation which outlined the activity. Students were also provided with the mapping grids to take away with them (Whole process 15-20 minutes) (3) Data was collected at 2 different stages – Immediate Response and Follow Up - immediately after they had been introduced to the HLM and their modelled activity - by a brief survey (asking about their initial response to the model – how easy to understand, whether they thought it would be useful and agreement/disagreement with a number of learner statements) - Follow up occurred at the end of semester/wk 11 so enough time for students to use or not use. CIES staff permission to return to class and requested students to complete a survey to see if they did use the model to help in preparation for their module/portfolio.
  • This is the actual grid that was supplied to 1 st year students who were having to complete a module in Skills for Studying Business (Study 2). This is the 2 nd page of the grid where you can see students are required to complete group work (Debates), Explore the research topic area, write a report and prepare for a joint oral presentation (Creates) as well as engage in some meta-learning activity (reflect on their weekly tasks and contributions to group work). Grid provides an overview of the task but also provides students with a checklist to assist them to complete the task and review their learning.
  • Table outlines findings for both sets of students from the Ulster Business School – Portfolio (BSc Marketing: Personal Employability Skills) and Module (Skills for Studying Business) Findings: Both students found the concepts (verbs, Learning events etc.) easy to understand but more so students who had the modelled portfolio (They were more definite in their response) Nevertheless, Study 1 = Easy and Quite Easy accounting for 90% of students/ Study 2 in total 92% Both sets of students were definite in their opinion with response of ‘Not Sure’ being extremely low (0%-2%) 6% in each instance perceived it to be ‘Not Easy’.
  • Points to note: Both sets of students indicated that they felt that the modelled activity would be useful in preparation for their portfolio and completion of their very first module at University (82% and 79% if aggregated). Some indicated that it was’ too early to say’ how useful it would be. One fifth of students that were provided with the outline of their module felt that it was too early for them to say.
  • Students (from Study 1) felt the model was – a “positive help”, helping them to prepare for their portfolio They liked the simplicity of the model/modelled activity “It puts all the information into simple terms”…… and they perceived it as a “rough guide” to a successful first year.
  • Tagcloud created by Wordle representing qualitative/open response comments – this is based on the most frequent words used by students in their responses. This tagcloud was created from Study 2 (outline of module), it focuses on words students used to comment how they thought the modelled activity would help them - expected, understand, useful, simple, easier, help, insight The following types of comments have been commonly noted by learners: - I am clearer of what is expected of me - The activity is easier to understand The model will be useful to help me complete the task [These words used by learners are very relevant to current HE agendas of student retention and transition.]
  • Just as a quick aside this is a tagcloud generated (also by Wordle) with 2 nd year Career students……similar words – expected, understand, think, explains……… initial response to modelled activities would appear are v positive focusing on clarifying student expectations and ease of understanding the task at hand
  • (1) Follow up conducted at the end of semester/wk 11 (2) Sample Size: Please note –variation in sample size for follow up (105 out of 175, 50 out of the original 66) (3) This table shows student agreement with 2 different learner statements that were devised to judge how the modelled activity had helped in practice. Learner statement in the 1 st two rows are the same where students had to indicate their agreement to whether the modelled activity had helped them adapt to completion of their portfolio or study skills module. Agreement high with both sets of students! (4) Also, when students asked whether they would like other learning activities/modules to be modelled in this way 66% (in both instances) were in agreement.
  • (1) Important question was whether students actually used the modelled activity. (2) In Study 1 there is a clear indication that this was the case with 78% of students using the model to help them prepare for the portfolio. Study 2 is less positive with a rough 50/50 split of students using the model. (3) Points to note; One study based on a defined learning activity – completion of a portfolio, the other study was less defined as such = preparation for any aspect of the students’ module/introduction to a course. In hindsight, we need to ask the question whether this modelled activity was too broad for the students to maybe use as effectively. Also should treat any comparison with some caution as sample size were different. (4) Findings somewhat contradictory – would appear the HLM modelled activity is a support mechanism helping them ‘adapt’ to new learning situations, and was easier to use in practice when it was a clearly defined activity. I think we were possibly ambitious to attempt to model a whole module/introduction to a course.
  • Students were also asked which aspects of the model were most useful to them. This table indicates that for both cohorts the 8 learning events were considered the most useful (providing a basic framework of the activity) and also being able to reflect on the process/learning activity itself was also considered important to students. Less important were the verbs used to describe the teacher and the learner roles.
  • Students were asked to select why they felt the model was useful. This table shows a selection of how the students responded. Awareness of what was expected of them – high agreement in both studies. Note – some differences between the 2 studies on the last 2 statements in this table. While between 63% to nearly 70% of students in Study 1 thought the modelled activity helped them reflect on their learning and simplified what they had to do between 52% and 55% of the 2 nd cohort believed this to be true…..again perhaps indicating what is modelled is an important consideration. Interesting point – while students in Study 2 did not use the model as much in practice they still responded positively to different aspects of the model. (Note that this wasn’t all the statements and not in this order).
  • Students felt that the model had helped at the start of the semester, it provided something to refer back to, it helped them realise my learning styles and indicated what lecturers expect.
  • Before, I conclude I would like to briefly mention some work we are intending to be rolled out in September ……. Earlier, Colette mentioned a range of generic scenarios that have been developed for staff (and students). These generic scenarios/HLM grids will be used to provide a learning perspective to the Library website and services. The library will have a webpage which links library information to the learner. Learners will be provided with a flash animation and take away handouts of the learning practice (seminars and assignments).
  • Modelled activities – generic scenarios [Seminars and Assignments] Intended to tailor to meet different Faculty needs (e.g., Arts might have special collections) It is intended to be rolled out to 2 Faculties in September Good promotional exercise for the Library service in context of support
  • This is a draft version of what the generic scenario will look like with library information tagged onto it. Meeting held with Librarian last Friday on updating this grid and to create a flash animation to provide to the students.
  • Staff have reported that they feel this process is invaluable for students in transition. It is certainly a useful exercise to introduce new learners to the HE learning process It provides a simple but structured way of supporting 1 st year students where roles and expectations are clearly mapped out. It is supportive of learners in promotion of independent It provides a simple checklist/framework to support independent learning. (and it details what is expected in collaborative learning). Supportive in relation to learners being introduced to new learning situations which may be daunting to 1 st year learners. Within UU it is having a positive impact on student learning experience. Not forgetting HLM and modelled activities are supportive to staff to help introduce new learning scenarios. HLM allows staff to “respond to changing learner contexts”. It provides a framework for staff and learners to examine Teaching and Learning in a novel way + a catalyst for identifying opportunities, resources, technologies for improving practice Establishes from early on the staff/student partnership in the learning process Encourages learner centric practices (influencing learner centred practice), enhancing the teacher and learner experience. A key factor is the prominence given to the learner perspective. Encourages conversation about the learning process (tutor-student, tutor-tutor, student-student). Staff often more open and relaxed articulating their practice when using the model as a reference point. Discussions about the precision in the meanings of verbs prompted open sharing of practices and debates about the students’ experience. The model is a “discreet change agent” for enhancing the student experience by prompting reflection and improving teaching practice.
  • Using models of learning practice to assist students in transition

    1. 1. Using models of learning practice to assist students in transition The Higher Education Academy Annual Conference 2009 The Future of the Student Learning Experience Vilinda Ross, Colette Murphy and Alan Masson
    2. 2. Session Overview <ul><li>Introduction / Background </li></ul><ul><li>The Hybrid Learning Model (HLM) </li></ul><ul><li>Use of HLM modelled activities </li></ul><ul><li>Students adapting to new learning situations </li></ul><ul><li>Library Pilot </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion and Questions </li></ul>
    3. 3. Hybrid Learning Model 8LEM Model (Labset, University of Liege) 30 teaching verbs (Bennett, Wollongong University) Bringing learning and teaching together
    4. 6. <ul><li>Flash cards (based on 8LEM, University de Li è ge) </li></ul><ul><li>Enriched with role specific verbs (adapted from Bennett) </li></ul><ul><li>Captures interactions and roles </li></ul><ul><li>Practice model annotated with contextual information </li></ul>
    5. 11. Experiences of using the HLM with practitioners and learners <ul><li>Staff feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to use </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Provides structured view of practice </li></ul><ul><li>Increased awareness of learner’s role </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly articulates expectations for learner </li></ul>“ Looking at the learner perspective with fresh eyes” “ I tend to underestimate the learner’s efforts”
    6. 12. HLM Modelled Activity (Seminar)
    7. 13. Modelled Activities: Flash animations
    8. 14. <ul><li>Assisting students to adapt to new learning situations by clarifying expectations and processes </li></ul><ul><li>Assisting students to understand role of support services (e.g., Library) in the context of the above activities </li></ul>Learner Focused HLM Use Cases
    9. 15. Adapting to New Learning Situations <ul><li>Studies with different student cohorts </li></ul><ul><li>(3 main studies and 4 smaller studies, 1 st and 2 nd year) </li></ul><ul><li>Range of different learning situations </li></ul><ul><li>(portfolio, seminars, reflective journal, labs, software development, module) </li></ul>
    10. 16. 1 st Year Student Cohorts <ul><li>Ulster Business School </li></ul><ul><li>Use of HLM to develop modelled activity </li></ul><ul><li>Start of semester presentation (grid and animation) </li></ul><ul><li>Student data: Immediate impact and follow up </li></ul>
    11. 17. Study 2: Mapping Grid
    12. 18. Initial Impact: Ease of Understanding Concepts of Modelled Activity Study 1, Missing (n=3) Study 2, Missing (n=1) 0% 6% (n=4) 20% (n=13) 70% (n=46) Study 1 Portfolio (Total n=66) Not Sure Not Easy Quite Easy Easy Learner Study 2% (n=3) 6% (n=11) 44% (n=77) 48% (n=83) Study 2 Module (Total n=175)
    13. 19. Initial Impact: Usefulness of modelled activity Study 1, Missing (n=3) Study 2, Missing (n=3) 12% (n=8) 2% (n=1) 46% (n=30) 36% (n=24) Study 1 Portfolio (Total n=66) Too early to say Not Useful Quite Useful Useful Learner Study 20% (n=35) <1% (n=1) 36% (n=62) 43% (n=74) Study 2 Module (Total n= 175)
    14. 20. Initial Student Comments “ The model helps to keep me on track with what is expected of me when preparing the portfolio” (Study 1) “ Gives me more of a rough guide into what is involved to make your first year a successful year” (Study 2) “ It puts all the information into simple terms, and it is easier to understand as a new student” (Study 2) “ Something like this would be a positive help….especially the terminology and being able to focus your learning differently” (Study 1) “ Gives a systematic method of looking at the module and gives a clear outline about what I should be doing in relation to the course content and how best to learn effectively and productively” (Study 2)
    15. 21. Year 1 Student Comments on Use of model to introduce a Module
    16. 22. Year 2 Career Student Comments on use of model to introduce Employer Workshops
    17. 23. Follow Up (1) Follow Up Sample = Study 1, 50 1 st year students; Study 2, 105 1st year students; 92% The modelled activity helped me to adapt to completing my portfolio (Study 1) 66% I would like other modules/learning activities to be modelled in this way to help me adapt to new learning situations (Study 1 and Study 2) 87% The modelled activity helped me to adapt to completing this study skills module (Study 2) % Agree Learner Statements
    18. 24. Follow Up (cont’d) Study 2: Use of the model in preparing for any aspect of their module (e.g., completion of assignments) Study 1: Using (or intend to use) modelled activity in preparation of portfolio n=50 n=105 No 22% (n=11) Yes 78% (n=39) No 51% (n=54) Yes 49% (n=51)
    19. 25. Other Findings <ul><li>Which parts of the Model were most useful? </li></ul>8% 10% Verbs 23% 23% Learner Prompts 26% 25% Reflection on the process 36% 29% Learning Events Study 2 % Ranked 1 st /Most Important) Study 1 % Ranked 1 st /Most Important) Hybrid Learning Model
    20. 26.  55%  63% helped me reflect on my learning  61%  67% provided a clear outline of what was expected  73%  90% provided an awareness of what is expected of me  52%  69% simplified what we had to do  67%  65% broke down the activity into understandable parts % Selected Study 2 % Selected Study 1 The modelled activity was useful because it…
    21. 27. Study 2 Follow Up Comments <ul><li>“ It helped me at the start of the semester as I felt I knew more what I had to do” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Gave me something to refer back to when I felt I was getting behind” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Helped me realise my learning styles to complete tasks and activities” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Indicated what I would have to do during the module and what lecturers expect” </li></ul>
    22. 28. Staff Comments (Study 1) <ul><li>“ This is invaluable for year 1 transition students” </li></ul><ul><li>“ They now demonstrate a greater understanding of what is expected of them” </li></ul>
    23. 29. Assisting students to understand role of support services (Library Pilot) <ul><li>Use generic examples of learning scenarios to highlight the role of key information skills and library tools and support services </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits: </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a learning perspective interface to the Library website and services </li></ul><ul><li>Disseminates examples of effective learning practices to Year 1 students </li></ul>
    24. 30. Assisting students to understand role of support services (Library Pilot) <ul><li>Pilot work commenced with Library (April 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation meeting with Librarians (May 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Modelled activities completed end of June </li></ul><ul><li>CIES will support and facilitate, including train the trainer </li></ul><ul><li>Introduced Semester 1, 2009/2010 </li></ul>
    25. 32. Conclusion <ul><li>HLM provides a mechanism to: </li></ul><ul><li>Ease transition </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce the HE learning process </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a simple, effective means to support Year 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate roles and expectations in a scaffolded way </li></ul><ul><li>Promote and support learners engaging in independent learning </li></ul><ul><li>Support learners to adapt/participate in new learning scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>Assist staff to better introduce learning scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage learner-centred practice </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage conversation about the learning process </li></ul>
    26. 33. Contact Details: URL : HLM Online Community: Enquiries: [email_address]
    27. 34. References <ul><li>Bennett, S. (2005) University of Wollongong </li></ul><ul><li>CETL(NI) Institutional E-Learning Services </li></ul><ul><li>Leclercq, D. & Poumay, M. (2005) The 8 Learning Events Model and its principles. Release 2005-1. LabSET. University of Liège, available at </li></ul><ul><li>Masson, A.,  MacNeill, A. & Murphy, C. (Botturi, L. and Stubbs, T. eds.) (2006) Case study - University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Handbook of visual languages for instructional design: Theories and practices Idea Group , Hershey, PA </li></ul><ul><li>Masson, A., MacNeill, A., Murphy, C., & Ross, V. (2008). The Hybrid Learning Model - A Framework for Teaching and Learning Practice. International Journal Of Emerging Technologies In Learning (IJET), 3 (0). Retrieved May 7, 2009, from </li></ul>