Hybrid IBL in Organisational Studies


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Student and lecturers’ experiences of introducing a hybrid IBL approach to teaching Organisation Studies in a business school

Authors: M Page, H Gaggiotti, C Jarvis,, with E Attwell, M Lukaj, L McCann, S Hayward, L Hindson

Published in: Business, Education
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Hybrid IBL in Organisational Studies

  1. 1. <ul><li>Student and lecturers’ experiences of introducing a hybrid IBL </li></ul><ul><li>approach to teaching Organisation Studies in a business school </li></ul><ul><li>M Page, H Gaggiotti, C Jarvis,, with E Attwell, M Lukaj, L McCann, S Hayward, L Hindson </li></ul>3rd Learning Through Enquiry Alliance (LTEA) Summer Conference LTEA Conference 2008: Inquiry in a Networked World
  2. 2. <ul><li>This paper looks at the introduction of inquiry-based approaches to learning and teaching (IBL) within the field of Organisation Studies in one second year (Organisation Studies - attracting 36 students in 2007/8) and two final year undergraduate modules: Managing Change (an elective attracting some 85 students in 2007/08) and Organisational Analysis (a core module taken by more than 400 students). Most of the students on Managing Change (c. 70) also take Organisational Analysis. Both modules are in a different stage of development with regard to IBL and, although running in the same Department in the same institution, there are both similarities and differences in the opportunities and challenges they face. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>IBL was initially introduced three years ago within a single elective module within the Business School. Since then it has been introduced in different forms in two further modules led by the co authors. In each case, we are adopting an emergent, gradualist approach, with initiatives in each module taking qualities of the conceptual frames and practices which the module leader judged appropriate for its student profile, and perhaps also reflecting the practices and academic traditions with which (s)he is most familiar. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>In this paper we set out to introduce the qualities of the approaches we have developed, and how they are evolving in hybrid forms, in three different contexts. In it we draw from two different research projects, funded by Bristol Business School (BBS) and the HEA. The HEA project has offered a resource for making sense of experience but has also enabled collaboration to develop that has inspired us to introduce creative and reflective practices into our teaching (Grisoni, Jarvis, Page, 2008). On a more practical level, it has funded our participation on this conference. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>encouragement of student curiosity and desire for deep learning, and staff desire to engage with student curiosity, as a driver for teaching and learning; </li></ul><ul><li>encouragement of students and staff to engage as reflective practitioners – on the programme and in their future in the workplace; </li></ul><ul><li>focus on extended epistemology, multiple ways of knowing; </li></ul><ul><li>dialogic, quality of student/ staff engagement as teachers and learners; </li></ul><ul><li>critical approaches to learning and teaching, learning as sense making and sense giving; </li></ul><ul><li>teaching and learning as embodied, situated process. </li></ul>Our evolving hybrid IBL methodologies
  6. 6. <ul><li>While these principles inform our work, they are by no means consistently applied in teaching practice and learning practice. Rather they are introduced and interpreted by each module leader, drawing from specific academic and practice traditions in ways felt to be appropriate to the curriculum and practices of the modules they have inherited. </li></ul>Our evolving hybrid IBL methodologies (cont.)
  7. 7. Asking the organisations about change
  8. 8. Sharing the questions with others: presentation of a storyboard
  9. 9. Inquiring in the city: Business students at the art gallery
  10. 10. Four Illustrations of HIBL (module leaders and student researchers each illustrate how they have engaged with IBL and experiential learning) <ul><li>Illustration 1 : Students reflect on their research and experiences of IBL: </li></ul><ul><li>A lot of the difficulty and assumed ambiguity appears to have stemmed from what is deemed ‘academic’; I don’t think that students appreciate the increasing interest and importance of the skills that we are seeking to acquire through such processes (LM). </li></ul><ul><li>I now find myself utilising IBL in my own personal life, too. This is because I want to make sense of the situations, which can be interpreted as learning from experience, i.e. Kolb’s Learning Cycle. Before, if something occurred as a result of X, my thinking was not stimulated as much as it is now after having exploited the use of IBL. Therefore, I would say that IBL is an encouraging tool for learning (SH). </li></ul>
  11. 11. In my assignment for organisational analysis I developed a narrative case study about a situation that happened to me at work. This situation enabled me to question the theorist Yannis Gabriel (2000), idea that culture provides a sense of belonging. His theory did not match my experience, as my experience of culture was more negative, thus I was able to critically evaluate his idea based on what I had experienced. This also allowed me to develop my own theory of culture (The Black Whole Approach) to culture, which looks at the idea of identity within organisations. IBL/experiential learning therefore has made the processes of critical evaluation simpler to comprehend (SH). Four Illustrations of HIBL (module leaders and student researchers each illustrate how they have engaged with IBL and experiential learning) (cont.) Illustration 1 (cont.) : Students reflect on their research and experiences of IBL:
  12. 12. Four Illustrations of HIBL (module leaders and student researchers each illustrate how they have engaged with IBL and experiential learning) (cont.) <ul><li>Illustration 2 : IBL in Managing Change, a level 3 elective module </li></ul><ul><li>Levels of anxiety expressed by students and experienced by staff have diminished as the methods of IBL have been articulated more clearly in successive years. This has been an iterative process - tutors responding to students’s requests for greater clarity around expectations and assessment criteria. Within each module, methods were introduced over time to enable student development of inquiry skills: reflective writing, research, learning from critical reflection on experience. Over the three years of introducing IBL in the module, assessment results have continued to improve. As module leader I must ask myself, is the value of IBL contingent on my ability to ensure that students do well in their assessed work? Where does or should the line of responsibility lie for ensuring that this is the case? (MP). </li></ul>
  13. 13. Four Illustrations of HIBL (module leaders and student researchers each illustrate how they have engaged with IBL and experiential learning) (cont.) <ul><li>Illustration 3 : Experiential learning in Organisation Analysis , a level 3 core module </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback from students suggests that our approach to teaching which is experiential - encouraging students to enquire into their personal experience, to take a critical approach to organisational theory and to link what they consider to be appropriate theory to their experiences – is perceived as different and difficult. Many experience high levels of anxiety around the approach and particularly around assessment; in a final year, core module which has to be passed if the student is to graduate, submitting a piece of assessment that is ‘different’ is seen as ‘risky’. Yet the message is that to achieve a high mark in this module, students need to take the risk (CJ) . </li></ul>
  14. 14. Four Illustrations of HIBL (module leaders and student researchers each illustrate how they have engaged with IBL and experiential learning) (cont.) <ul><li>Illustration 4 : Present, Defend, Attack: HIBL in Organisation Studies , a level 2 module </li></ul><ul><li>Analysing the statistics of the module evaluations, despite the fact that almost all of the students agreed that they were encouraged to express opinions and engaged in critical debate, only half of them considered the module a stimulating learning experience . This gap suggests to me that engaging in critical debates is not necessarily perceived as learning for the students (HG) . </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>In each case, feedback from student indicates that their engagement with IBL required them to learn on two levels: they were learning about the subject or topic of each module, and they were learning to learn in a different way. IBL, and experiential learning, required students to engage with the subject matter from a stance driven by their own curiosity, developing the art of asking questions as a means of developing and asserting an evolving critical stance. </li></ul>Conclusions from the illustrations
  16. 16. <ul><li>This was not a smooth process for students or for tutors. In each case, students experienced considerable anxiety when they first encountered this new set of expectations, and particularly at each point of assessment. Staff needed to hold their own anxiety about performance, in order to provide a strong holding frame for students. For staff the research has provided a space for conversation about their experiences and for developing methods to support the teaching and learning process in the context of each module. </li></ul>Conclusions from the illustrations (cont.)
  17. 17. <ul><li>For many students anxiety diminished when students were able to see this anxiety as part of the pattern of learning. Thus many students describe a process of discovering their anxiety was part of a pattern, an expected response to learning, and furthermore that their initial resistance to engaging with IBL was a recognisable defence against learning. </li></ul>Conclusions from the illustrations (cont.)
  18. 18. <ul><li>It is known that for many forms of experiential learning (Stein, Miller etc), students may not perceive their learning during the module or immediately after it but later. This may also be the case for IBL. To inquire (to ask, to perceive, to react, to criticise, to re question, to re analyse one’s own point of view) is more difficult to recognise as learning than to remember what was delivered with a didactic approach (to show, explain specific models and concepts, compare them, make categories). </li></ul>Conclusions from the illustrations (cont.)
  19. 19. Conclusions from the illustrations (cont.) <ul><li>A final question: </li></ul><ul><li>Is it right to require students to engage in IBL, knowing that some students prefer the more didactic approach? Can we justify this in terms of employability? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Thanks !?