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Responding To Learners H Bonly

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Keynote to theme 1 (responding to learners) of the JISC e-learning conference 2009. Helen Beetham's slides and text only - this was a joint presentation with Rhona Sharpe.

Keynote to theme 1 (responding to learners) of the JISC e-learning conference 2009. Helen Beetham's slides and text only - this was a joint presentation with Rhona Sharpe.

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  • Thank you for pointing out that digital learners today overestimate their information and technology skills, lack critical and inquiry skills, are unwilling to explore creative appropriation of technologies, and have difficulty transferring skills from personal and social contexts to educational and academic utility. This phenomenon now taking place among our 'so-they-think-they-are-digital-natives-and-therefore-tech-savvy-generation', is but an illusion because they have not yet evolved into 'digital learners.'
    Digital natives must not only become digital learners, but must become digital leaders and digital innovators in order to succeed in the world of academia, work and life in the C21st. True digital acumen must translate into the development of higher-order thinking skills and abilities.
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  • Helen: In our keynote we are addressing mainly the first question posed to us in theme one: What are the needs and expectations of learners using technology in their learning, and how should we respond to them? Rhona: The session is titled ‘responding to learners’. The ‘student voice’ is currently a very popular term, and eliciting and bringing to the fore learners’ actual, lived experiences of technology use, is something we’ve been promoting for some time. Although this is a welcome development, we think there are some important cautions. Helen: We want to debunk a couple of myths about learners and technology, and replace them with a more nuanced understanding of what learners want from educators.
  • Helen: This theme is timely in light of the government's Higher Ambitions report, one key theme of which is that learners should be treated more like consumers of education. We should welcome Lord Mandelson's statement that 'the key drivers of change should be students, and student expectations', though the fact that he made that statement to the CBI, rather than the NUS, suggests that his money might be on some other customers of the university product.
  • But I think we should also exercise caution when we place 'student expectations' at the heart of our offering, and that is particularly true of technologies in learning where it has become something of a mantra. A consumer model sees learners' needs and expectations as one and the same thing: find out what learners want and deliver it. But we know learning isn't like that. At an individual level, if we see learning in the highest sense as self-realisation, self-transformation, we see that needs may be met by challenging expectations, and that both will change if deep learning is taking place. At a societal level, it sounds as though the people with the sharpest stakes are being given an opportunity to have more say. Which is a good thing of course. But we are failing if we let 'just in time, just for me' define the limit of our ambitions for higher education.
  • Helen: This theme is timely in light of the government's Higher Ambitions report, one key theme of which is that learners should be treated more like consumers of education. We should welcome Lord Mandelson's statement that 'the key drivers of change should be students, and student expectations', though the fact that he made that statement to the CBI, rather than the NUS, suggests that his money might be on some other customers of the university product.
  • Can we still be responsive while having an agenda of our own – a collective agenda – for higher education and the role of technology in higher learning?
  • First we have to debunk a couple of myths, one about digital nativism or put another way the low level of need learners are supposed to have for their digital literacies to be formally supported and progressed. And the other about learners' expectations of formal education, that they are being strongly influenced by their experiences of social and personal technology use. We are going to replace these with hopefully a more nuanced look at learners' needs and expectations. We know that learners' study practices are very diverse, as are their attitudes to technology, their preferences and beliefs and self-efficacy. What practices are going to be empowering for them – and what practices are HE and FE are uniquely placed to provide, when so many experiences that can lead to learning are freely available on the internet? And how best can we support them? While we need to respond to learners' expectations, fears and fantasies about technology, we need a position that is not just responsive, that positively challenges and progresses them, that develops their use of technology in ways that are supportive of deep learning. (Over to Rhona)
  • First we have to debunk a couple of myths, one about digital nativism or put another way the low level of need learners are supposed to have for their digital literacies to be formally supported and progressed. And the other about learners' expectations of formal education, that they are being strongly influenced by their experiences of social and personal technology use. We are going to replace these with hopefully a more nuanced look at learners' needs and expectations. We know that learners' study practices are very diverse, as are their attitudes to technology, their preferences and beliefs and self-efficacy. What practices are going to be empowering for them – and what practices are HE and FE are uniquely placed to provide, when so many experiences that can lead to learning are freely available on the internet? And how best can we support them? While we need to respond to learners' expectations, fears and fantasies about technology, we need a position that is not just responsive, that positively challenges and progresses them, that develops their use of technology in ways that are supportive of deep learning. (Over to Rhona)
  • Helen:
  • Helen: This theme is timely in light of the government's Higher Ambitions report, one key theme of which is that learners should be treated more like consumers of education. We should welcome Lord Mandelson's statement that 'the key drivers of change should be students, and student expectations', though the fact that he made that statement to the CBI, rather than the NUS, suggests that his money might be on some other customers of the university product.
  • In terms of the myth of learners with high expectations of TEL, we’ve found few – but notable – examples of this. We’ve put this at the top of our developmental model and it’s worth saying a bit about .. The model came out of a recognition that of the agility of some learners at finding and using tools, skills and social networks to support their study in creative ways. IT is arranged as a pyramid to emphasise that the attributes of effective learners are built up on a set of technology-based practices – which in turn require appropriate skills and functional access to the relevant technologies (Helen will say more about this). Learners at the top have sometimes, like the international students and students with disabilities, developed personal strategies with technology to overcome barriers to access, and used the agility to good advantage in their studies (Seale and Bishop, Chapter 9; Thema 2009). Sometimes a personal preference or interest led them to adopt technologies in ways that were ahead of their peers (Green and Hannon’s digital pioneers) These adept users do have an expectation of being able to access their favourite technologies within their place of learning and alongside the more formal technologies they are offered . They are willing to experiment, use multiple personal technologies, work beyond the bounds of the course and often outside the knowledge of tutors.

Transcript

  • 1. Responding to learners Helen Beetham Rhona Sharpe
  • 2. “ a consumer revolution for students” Higher Ambitions : the future of universities in a knowledge economy
  • 3. problems with the consumer model...
    • at an individual level, not developmental, not ambitious
    • at a societal level, rhetorically allows next year’s cohort of students and this year’s top graduate employers to define purposes of FE/HE: in practice sidelines the debate
  • 4. The consumer or client replaces the learner... [and] as the language of performance and management has advanced, so we have lost a language of education which recognises the intrinsic value of pursuing certain sorts of question...
  • 5. needs and expectations...
    • how are they framed?
    • are they the same thing?
    • can needs be met by having expectations challenged?
    • how can we avoid charges of patronage, normalisation, elitism, being ‘supply-side’ driven ...?
  • 6. we need to debunk a couple of myths
    • learners are digital natives
    • have high expectations of technology-supported learning
  • 7. we need to debunk a couple of myths
    • learners are digital natives
    • have high expectations of technology-supported learning
  • 8. we need to debunk a couple of myths
    • what practices and capabilities do learners need for a digital age?
    • how do we enable learners to develop them?
  • 9. What counts as an educated 19-year-old in this day and age?
  • 10. Helen Beetham Lou McGill Allison Littlejohn Small-scale JISC study Final report May 09
  • 11. what capabilities will today's learners need in 2020? economic uncertainty high competition for employment in the global knowledge economy increased alternative, contract-based and self-employment inter-disciplinarity and multi-role work teams climate change: increased migration multi-cultural working and living environments digitally-enhanced environment: geo-tagging, embedded data blurring boundaries of real/virtual, public/private, work/leisure increasing ubiquity, availability and reusability of digital knowledge distribution of cognitive work into (human+non-human) networks personal 'cloud' of information, personal/wearable devices rapid social and techno-social change
  • 12. As knowledge is increasingly accepted as being multi-modal, always potentially capable of digital capture and sharing, then the significance of 'the digital' as a separate space for living, learning and working may recede We are not rethinking some part or aspect of learning, we are rethinking all of learning in these new digital contexts
  • 13.
    • How will we manage multiple identities in a world where public and private are being redefined? How will we act safely and responsibility in hybrid spaces?
    Creative appropriation
  • 14. What would you describe as the priority for graduates in the C21st? A high level skills for a knowledge economy B creative production of ideas in multiple media C critical information and technology literacy D digital participation and citizenship E personal and social resilience
  • 15. what capabilities are being supported in UK HE and FE today? academic and prof literacies Competence frameworks information and media literacies ICT skills critical thinking problem solving reflection academic writing note-taking concept mapping time management analysis, synthesis evaluation creativity, innovation self-directed learning collaborative learning searching, retrieving analysing, interpreting critiquing evaluating managing resources navigating info spaces content creation editing, repurposing enriching resources referencing sharing content web searching using CMC using TELE using digital devices word processing using databases analysis tools assistive tech social software immersive envts personalisation... slow change, cultural and institutional inhibitors rapid change, economic and techno-social drivers
  • 16. A developmental model Creative appropriation
  • 17. hand-out: mapping capabilities to the developmental model
  • 18. hand-out: mapping capabilities to the developmental model Strategies tend to focus on 'employability' – occasionally 'graduateness' – both very poorly conceptualised. In practice, how should the curriculum change? How will learners benefit? How will they be supported, challenged and progressed? creative appropriation
  • 19. Learners over-estimate their information skills Many lack general critical and inquiry skills Most learners still strongly led by tutor / course practices Most learners unwilling to explore or creatively appropriate technologies Separate 'skills' provision poorly engaged with Need support integrating skills at task/practice level Problems transferring skills from personal/social contexts to study Potential clash of academic/personal knowledge cultures what are the challenges for learners?
  • 20. how might institutions respond?
  • 21. What do learners arriving in HE and FE need to make the best of their learning experience? A info/digital literacy module integrated into all programmes in semester 1 B intensive study skills support including ICT C student mentors with strong digital skills D teaching staff with strong digital skills E personal development plan that centres on digital literacies
  • 22. Rethink the capabilities graduates need Rethink how they are taught, supported, assessed Rethink how different capabilities and practices are valued by the institution Digital participation, production and enquiry Multiple modes of knowing, multiple media, multiple communities Self-management of learning, career and reputation Creativity, innovation and agility... Peer learning, informal learning, 360 degree support and review Authentic contexts for practice, including digitally-mediated contexts Individual scaffolding and support Making explicit community practices of knowledge and meaning-making Anticipating and helping learners manage conflict between practice contexts Recognising and helping learners integrate practices Interdisciplinarity? Cross-contextual learning? Learner-generated contexts? Transparency over processes and values Recognition and reward (staff and student, cultural and financial) Digital scholarship = learning and teaching practice, research and innovation, content production Digital professionalism recognised and nurtured
  • 23. Learning, living and working are understood to take place in a digital society: there is no separate space of learning which is 'digital' Learners are blending their own learning environments There is an entitlement to access and basic skills of learning in a digital age, plus a recognition of diverse personal goals and needs Literacies for learning are continually assessed and supported: the emphasis is on producing digitally capable lifelong learners The focus is on what formal post-compulsory education uniquely offers in the digital age
  • 24. References and resources
    • JISC Responding to Learners pack
    • Sharpe, R. et al (2009) Learners’ experiences of e-learning synthesis report: Explaining learner differences, available from https://mw.brookes.ac.uk/display/JISCLE2
    • Beetham, H., et al (2009) Thriving in the 21 st Century: report of the JISC Learning Literacies for a Digital Age project, available from http://caledonianacademy.net/spaces/LLiDA/
    • ELESIG, next event 21 January 2010, Reading
    • Rethinking Learning for a Digital Age, Routledge (Spring 2010)