Communities for learning and professional development


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Communities for learning and professional development

  1. 1. Communities for for discussion DRAFT v6.1learning & professional development Developing and supporting communities for learning and professional development Towards a project programme proposal, draft for discussionGeorge RobertsMay 2011AimsTwo aims are of equal importance:  To study the establishment,  To support developing learning development and support needs of communities in contemporary learning communities in diverse professional environments. environments. And ...Such contemporary professional environments may include local authority service providerteams, Community IT Centres, universities, a Social Science Centres, etc. The project willuse an engaged and participatory approach, hence the equal weighting of the aims: to do andto learn. The project will have tangible benefits for the organisations, individuals and the widercommunity through on-going practical, evaluation and support.Research Question(s)  How do people, who associate themselves with such communities (groups/networks/organisations), use that association to make positive changes in their professional lives?  What do professionals in these communities (groups/networks/organisations) do with the communication facilities and tools at their disposal; from one-to-one, face-to-face meetings, to any and all available one-to many and many-to-many ICT channels: e.g. social and mobile networks?  What role, particularly, do Internet-based resources and communication channels (Web 1, Web 2.0, the social Internet), play in living lives in local and distributed professional, social, academic, professional learning communities? And, what might we speculate about Web3?  How might we characterise the environment, community, identity, values and practices of professional learning communities? That is, how might we know what positive change looks like?MethodThe approach uses Developmental Work Research and is an asset- (or strength-) based.There is a dynamic between people using “tools” (e.g. memos & minutes are tools, as is ICT,offices, hardware kit, etc.) to change something (the object) for a purpose (outcome) in acommunity (team, department, firm, city, etc) where there are tacit and explicit rules andnorms of behaviour. And, there is division of labour; people have different roles.4-stage processWe start by identifying the key people who should be involved in the scoping or “discovery”phase of the project. 1. discovery of objects and outcomes: a. What are common aims b. upon what do people work to achieve these aims c. with whom do they work d. how do they work 2. a conceptual development & planning cycle 3. rapid design 4. delivery by regular incremental releaseMay 2011 1
  2. 2. Communities for for discussion DRAFT v6.1learning & professional developmentBenefits for all may include  More effective team, partnership and community working; greater self-efficacy  Clearer map of wider regional, sectoral and global development goals  Opportunity to create very local (team/comunity group) development goals  Capacity-building and local empowerment  Sustainability for community resources (IT centres, learning platforms...)  Coming together and sharing ideas across communities and groups at local/regional learning seminar(s)OutcomesThe local project domain and wider project domains including international partnerships ineducation and development.The project is in part an exercise in implementing and modelling collaborative and inter-institution working between University(ies) and local and international Social, Business andCommunity enterprises: community partnerships, co-operatives and social enterprises,government authorities, and commercial employers (or their proxies).Partnerships in practice  Co-development, participatory practice, co-operation: student as producer (Neary et al 2011)  Community learning: “communiversity”  Resilience and security  Connected communities  Employability & higher skills: employability/utility a factor of community and identityProfessional values  Professional learning and development values o concern for individual learner and diverse learning communities, o commitment to participation and equality of opportunity; o evidence and research-based practice; o sustainability of learning opportunities  Inter-personal and instrumental values (in contrast to individual and end-state values): o compassion, determination, resourcefulness, respect, solidarity, co-operation  A signal return to occupational (over brand/consumer) identity  Graduate attributes: o academic disciplinary/professional communities; research, information and digital literacy; critical self-awareness; global citizenshipLearning technology  The applications of learning technology (laptops, tablets, "smart phones" and the expanding Internet, etc) should empower each individual to: o shape their own learning environment and interactions in autonomous and self-organising groups (communities/networks) o speak with their own voice within groups and communities of relevance to them o choose diverse modes of engagement with their learning programme, flexibly to suit their circumstances o experience high quality, professionally authentic learning opportunities.May 2011 2