The engagement of academics in professional development for e-learning


Published on

A literature review in progress, ending with some implications for learning technologists and management.

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • The engagement of academics in professional development for e-learning

    1. 1. Engaging academics in professional development for e-learning Mira Vogel Goldsmiths, University of London ~~~ M25 Learning Technology meet-up, 27 th March 2009 Published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike license
    2. 2. Why this review? <ul><li>An episode with a reluctant staff member </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Machiavellian’ (subversive) approaches from others </li></ul><ul><li>Managerialism </li></ul><ul><li>Libertarianism and anarchy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 and new possibilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interest, but little uptake </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulties with individual support / development </li></ul><ul><li>The need to review my department’s vision </li></ul>
    3. 3. Background <ul><li>Academic development received intense attention 1999-2001 </li></ul><ul><li>National </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change agenda  Innovation agenda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dearing Report (1997) ‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Local </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commodification of knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Externalisation of staff development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Model of academic development Simplified from Land, 2001 <ul><li>Tips and hints on practice </li></ul><ul><li>Critical theory </li></ul><ul><li>Postmodernism </li></ul><ul><li>Humanistic psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Enterprise </li></ul><ul><li>Workbased learning </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Change management </li></ul><ul><li>Organisational behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Change management </li></ul><ul><li>Learning organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Accreditation </li></ul><ul><li>Lifelong learning </li></ul><ul><li>Quality assurance </li></ul>Liberating POLICY INSTITUTION INDIVIDUAL Systems definition Domesticating Person orientation CRITIQUE
    5. 5. Basis for literature search <ul><li>Within these constraints, what are good circumstances for engagement? </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement as </li></ul><ul><ul><li>intrinsic motivation; enthusiasm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>internalisation of new practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>faciliation by management </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not as simply </li></ul><ul><ul><li>signing up, turning up, doing it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rewards and remuneration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>making time or equipment available </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Search terms <ul><li>Academic / education/ staff development </li></ul><ul><li>Online learning / e-learning / educational technology / learning technology / technology-enhanced learning </li></ul><ul><li>Higher Education, academic, university </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogy / andragogy / theory </li></ul><ul><li>Recruiting / Engaging </li></ul><ul><li>Compulsory / Coercive </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition / Reward / Incentive / Compensation </li></ul>
    7. 7. Consensus among authors <ul><li>The role of academic teacher is changing </li></ul><ul><li>Required adaptations won’t happen on their own </li></ul><ul><li>Change is superficial unless academics engage </li></ul><ul><li>Change viewed as end in itself is resented </li></ul><ul><li>Change is slow and hard to inculcate </li></ul><ul><li>Professional identity is an overriding factor </li></ul><ul><li>Constructivist, situated approaches work best </li></ul><ul><li>One-to-one individual attention is unsustainable </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful: reward, recognition, time, kit, support </li></ul>
    8. 8. An academic perspective <ul><li>Post-colonialism of Erica McWilliam </li></ul><ul><li>“colonisation of … time and activities” </li></ul><ul><li>“predicated ... on the assumption that academics are deficient as teachers” </li></ul><ul><li>Technification – bought-in solutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency slides replaced by PowerPoint slides </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“charming absurdities” </li></ul><ul><li>“professional development must be seen to be done” </li></ul><ul><li>“the effects mono-cropping for the market has on local subsistence mixed croppers” </li></ul>
    9. 9. An academic perspective <ul><li>“ In declaring itself to be ‘much more than training’, professional development is geared up to producing … an individual in keeping with the needs and demands of enterprise culture, underpinned as it is by … understanding … the most appropriate ethical comportment of the individual – any individual - in a society, and what their relationship to the economy should entail.” </li></ul><ul><li>(McWilliam, 2000) ‏ </li></ul>
    10. 10. Engagement as a series of continuums
    11. 11. Learner-centred / teacher-centred <ul><li>Difference of interests? </li></ul><ul><li>Learners used against tutors in attempt to gain legitimacy </li></ul><ul><li>Involving learners in encounters for programme design is valued by teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Giving teachers full autonomy in small groups and acting as enabler works well </li></ul><ul><li>Tying CPD to Quality agenda resented </li></ul>
    12. 12. Learner centred / teacher centred <ul><li>“ The course team introduced the idea of quality assurance. I grew impatient … I was really intrigued that as a learner I had done what I see my own students doing all the time; lagging behind and not seeing the relevance until after the event.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Clegg et al, 2001) ‏ </li></ul>
    13. 13. Motivation – extrinsic / intrinsic <ul><li>Extrinsic stuff we are aware of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time, kit, recognition, reward eg publications, grants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intrinsic: personal satisfaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aesthetic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student experience, outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intrinsic: fit with professional identity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic values – inquiry, scepticism, evidence, theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning as collegial, social </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Motivation – extrinsic/intrinsic <ul><li>“ Identity is crucial to social learning systems for three reasons. First our identities combine competence and experience into a way of knowing. They are the key to deciding what matters and what does not, with whom we identify and whom we trust, and with whom we must share what we understand.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Wenger, 2003) ‏ </li></ul>
    15. 15. Formal / informal <ul><li>Formal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Externalising CPD is to some extent commodifying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional agenda clash with autonomy  subversion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal arrangements, fixed sessions – difficult for academics to come together </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Informal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asking for descriptions of practice (rather than prescribing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Builds in opportunity for reflection </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unhitch CPD from Quality agenda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measuring outcomes? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enjoyment, use of resources, sophistication of use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Or make design explicit and invite critique </li></ul>
    16. 16. Formal / informal <ul><li>“ In designing the Plymouth modules, my colleagues and I have been very clear about allowing opportunities to critique the underlying agendas from an informed perspective.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Beetham, 2000) ‏ </li></ul>
    17. 17. Centralised / local <ul><li>Central provision is valued - and suspected </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tying to other agenda eg Quality is resented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be hard to fit it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More visible, easier to reward and resource </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Local </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Principal allegiances to the discipline – not institution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collegial – a major (threatened) ethos of academic work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning in such organisations is inherently social </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CoP - but cross-fertilisation cannot also be situated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not very visible, hard to reward and manage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be parochial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High level of satisfaction </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Centralised / local <ul><li>“ [The local model] has legitimacy on several fronts. Because it takes the cultural context very seriously, it has high credibility. It is situated within the discipline of the academics involved and does not disregard curriculum and discipline-specific pedagogic concerns … Without central support, however, this structure would never have been established and sustained” </li></ul><ul><li>(Hanrahan et al, 2001) ‏ </li></ul>
    19. 19. Individuals / course team <ul><li>Individual </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘Early adopters’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lone individuals shouldn't be responsible for delivering strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unsustainable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May become ‘oppressors’ in turn </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Team </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be task-based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Situated, collaborative - collegial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More joined-up, cohesive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows for necessary division of labour </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Individuals / course team <ul><li>“… when the champions retire or move on they may sometimes be replaced by staff who are not as enthused. Faced with many demands on their time and not fully briefed about why and how blended approaches have been developed, incoming teachers may drop or reduce the online components. They may feel unable to defend the approach when questioned by colleagues or students.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Davis, 2007) ‏ </li></ul>
    21. 21. Support / development <ul><li>Support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Timely – based on recognised needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Necessary to build confidence with a technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard to position the technology within practice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A contextualisation of technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involves reflection; requires slack time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No matter how conscientious and reflective, it cannot occur without understanding the ins and outs of the technology </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Support / development <ul><li>“ Staff … need to undertake a huge amount of professional development and personal work to make a significant start. The fact that so many academic staff have not yet made this significant start might suggest that institutional and government strategies underestimate the magnitude of work, development and time commitment needed. Perhaps they also overestimate the motivation of academic staff to undertake these activities. The analysis also suggests that extensive support mechanisms are in place but that these focus primarily on supporting professional development, rather than providing specific and direct support to individual teachers. It is therefore necessary to look at the focus of support in more </li></ul><ul><li>detail.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Shephard, 2004) ‏ </li></ul>
    23. 23. What works? <ul><li>Fit with professional identity of academics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain awareness of national and institutional values, directives – make meaningful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perception of vision of management is v. influential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic values – evidence, theory, question-finding </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gain attention </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote sessions/practices to academics with needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stress positive attributes of technology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Avoid the ‘praxis gap’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work consistently with inquiry-based values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage critique of your own designs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Avoid change / innovation as ends in themselves </li></ul>
    24. 24. What works? (2) ‏ <ul><li>Balance academic values and institutional demands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting up structures for encounters between course team members; them and students. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Situated, task-based, inquiry-based - guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote to academics; also immediate practical needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimise subversion with supportive informal atmosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disseminate, rather than impose, practice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elicit descriptions of activities and disseminate these more widely </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it a key occasion for reflection </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Limitations and future work <ul><li>Professional academic developers write most of the literature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most development still happens informally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many academics don’t have the discourse or theoretical background to write for educational publications </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Books, interviews, survey </li></ul><ul><li>Literature on e-learning is poor on engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Theoretical perspectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Post-colonial theory seems very relevant to professional development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cf psychology of behaviour change eg 'libertarian paternalism' </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. The (growing) digest repository <ul><li>A public Google spreadsheet at h ttp:// </li></ul><ul><li>Mira Vogel - </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks for listening. </li></ul>