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Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts

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Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts
Lina Markauskaite and Peter Goodyear
Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation

Presented at the Practice-Based Education Summit “Bridging Practice Spaces” @ CSU, Sydney 13-14 April, 2016

Abstract

Professional learning and assessment in higher education often involve production of various artefacts, such as lesson plans and reflections in teaching, assessment reports and case studies in counselling, drawings and portfolios in architecture. What is the nature of the artefacts that students produce during their professional learning? How does students’ work on making these artefacts help them to bridge knowledge learnt in university setting with knowledge work in workplaces?
 
In this presentation we report on our research in which we combine socio-cultural “mediation” (Kaptelinin, 2005), socio-material “objectual practice” (Knorr Cetina, 2001) and extended ecological cognition perspectives (Ingold, 2012; Knappett, 2010) to investigate the nature of learning activities in the overlapping spaces of the university and the workplace. Specifically, we investigate the nature of the artefacts that students create as a part of assessment tasks during their preparation for professional practice.
 
Initially, we argue that learning in university settings and doing in workplaces are two distinct kinds of objectual practices that are inherently directed towards different kinds of objects. We unpack the nature of these two kinds of objectual practices by distinguishing between object as motive and object as material entity. Specifically, We show that university learning orients itself towards abstract forms of knowledge that can travel across diverse workplace contexts and situations, while workplace practices orient themselves towards production of concrete situated solutions of specific professional problems.
 
Then, we look at the nature of activities and artefacts produced by students during preparation for work placements in the overlapping space of the university and the workplace., what kinds of epistemic experiences these artefacts afford and what their relationships with professional knowledge and knowing practices are. We show that these artefact-oriented activities, and the artefacts produced, often connect, rather than separate, abstract knowledge and objects of professional practice with embodied skill through concrete, materially expressed, actions and things . This entangled epistemic nature of professional learning artefacts allows bridging not only learning and work, but also learning and innovation. To make this argument we distinguish between different kinds of epistemic artefacts that students create – showing the ways in which they elucidate, preserve, transfer, fine-tune, mediate and advance upon professional knowledge and skills.
 

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Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts

  1. 1. The University of Sydney Page 1 Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts Lina Markauskaite and Peter Goodyear Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation Practice-Based Education Summit “Bridging Practice Spaces” @ CSU, Sydney 13-14 April, 2016
  2. 2. The University of Sydney Page 2 Expected publication:28 May, 2016 Context: Epistemic fluency Grounded (and extended) view of cognition Professional expertise is inseparable from capacities to (co-)construct epistemic environments that enhance knowledgeable actions. Such expertise is grounded in embodied, situated professional knowledge work. Much of this work is done by (co-) creating epistemic artefacts that embody actionable knowledge.
  3. 3. The University of Sydney Page 3 Learning trough making epistemic artefacts Questions: 1. What is the nature of the artefacts that students produce during their professional learning? 2. How does students’ work on making these artefacts help them to bridge knowledge learnt in university setting with knowledge work in workplaces? Focus: Assessment tasks and artefacts in courses that prepare for professional practice
  4. 4. The University of Sydney Page 4 Theoretical perspectives 1. Socio-cultural “mediation” (Kaptelinin, 2005) 2. Socio-material “objectual practice” (Knorr Cetina, 2001) 3. Ecological cognition (Ingold, 2012; Knappett, 2010) Objects are the foundation of enduring professional practices, discovery and innovation... and human consciousness and learning. Objects are entities people act towards and/or act with (Star, 2010)
  5. 5. The University of Sydney Page 5 Socio-cultural “mediation” perspective Object Objekt As “problem space,” concrete (material) entity Predmet As “true motive,” psychological stimuli “…the activity does not have a direction and does not really start until the object of activity is defined” (Kaptelinin, 2005) Notations: N – Need; M – Motive; O – Object; A – Activity SC – Social Context; CM – Conditions and Means
  6. 6. The University of Sydney Page 6 Socio-material “objectual practice” perspective “The lack in completeness of being is crucial: objects of knowledge in many fields have material instantiations, but they must simultaneously be conceived of as unfolding structures of absences: as things that continually 'explode' and 'mutate' into something else, and that are as much defined by what they are not (but will, at some point have become) than by what they are” (Knorr Cetina, 2001)
  7. 7. The University of Sydney Page 7 Ecological cognition perspective “Things are ambiguous and undefined; when you say ‘pass me that green thing over there,’ the thing is unintelligible in some way. Objects, on the other hand, are named, understood and transparent” (Knappett, 2010, 82) Inhabited world is not so much composed of objects as of things – forms arise in flows of materials, rather than being set a priori, and “stand against us” (Ingold, 2010)
  8. 8. The University of Sydney Page 8 Objects vs. things – “The use of terms such as “tinkering” (to describe working on doable problems) misses the mark when work is viewed in the wider context of motivated object- oriented activity” (Kaptelinin & Nardi, 2006, 285) – “...There is not much feeling for thingness in these cases, of stuff just being there, not fully perceived or understood. It is as if every entity around us in our material world can be precisely named and functionally ascribed” (Knappett, 2010, 82).
  9. 9. The University of Sydney Page 9 Epistemic artefact: convergence of object and thing... Artefact - lat. arte (“Skill in doing something”) and factum (“A thing done or performed”)
  10. 10. The University of Sydney Page 10 Study: “Cognitive-cultural archaeology” 1 Phase 1 Phase 2 Disciplines Pharmacy Nursing Social work School counseling Education Pharmacy Education Sample 20 professional practice courses 24 projects-assessment tasks 16 academics 3 tutorial groups, 6 weeks 2 students’ groups, 4 weeks Data Interviews: 1-3 interviews per course Course materials: outlines, assignments, handouts, examples, etc. Observations Course materials, artefacts produced by students Open interviews Methods Cognitive task analysis (Crandall, Klein, & Hoffman, 2006) Epistemic interviewing (Brinkmann, 2007) Ethno- audio/video taped observations
  11. 11. The University of Sydney Page 11 Objects for assessment tasks Motives/Objects Everyday practices Unusual practices Fine-tuning skill and knowledge Key specific skills Eg. Administering behavioural assessments Hardest elements of professional practice Eg. Teaching lessons of most difficult to teach topics Shaping professional vision Core inquiry frameworks Eg. Mastering a generic framework for pharmacy practice Hidden elements of professional vision Eg. Seeing social justice in a lesson plan Making professional artefacts Production artefacts for/in action Eg. Designing a plan, writing a report Production of generic artefacts-tools Eg. Creating guidelines
  12. 12. The University of Sydney Page 12 Nature of “translational” artefacts Learning/hybrid artefacts Workplace- based/focussed artefacts Accountabili ty Formal tests Eg. OHS test Experience records Eg. practice logbooks Pedagogical Educational artefacts Eg. concept maps, essays Deconstructive artefacts Eg. analyses and reflections of professional experiences Professional Rare/hybrid professional artefacts Eg. medication review, nursing guidelines Common professional artefacts Eg. medication dosage assessment
  13. 13. The University of Sydney Page 13 A case: Constructing nursing guidelines “[T]his Nursing School didn’t want to have a set of guidelines as such to give the students out of the books. They said we want the students to be freer thinking. And I watched the students struggle and I thought “well, maybe often they do need guidelines.” I don’t teach to guidelines. I teach to principles. But when you want them to go back and practice, they need guidelines <…> So that’s what I thought that a way of getting around that is if they developed their own guidelines.”
  14. 14. The University of Sydney Page 14 Needs and motives “...the hardest bit is to engage the students into feeling like nurses, feeling like they’re doing nursing. And to actually make their clinical practice in the simulation laboratories meaningful <...> trying to get them to think as a nurse and that was the whole purpose behind doing this assignment too - to look at the fact that it’s not just clinical skills that you need evidence behind what you’re doing.” Task design: 1. Look for evidence & best-practice 2. Critically evaluate and make choices 3. Perform clinical skill in a simulation laboratory 4. Take pictures of your performance 5. Develop guidelines that combines your performance with evidence
  15. 15. The University of Sydney Page 15 Entangling social, material and human “I suppose the modus operandi behind it [the task] was to get them to engage and connect with what they’re doing” Notations: N – Need; M – Motive; O – Object; A – Activity; EA – Epistemic Artefact; T – Thing SMHE – Social, Material and Human Entanglements
  16. 16. The University of Sydney Page 16 Final points 1. The nursing guidelines are not the object (“ultimate reason”) of the students’ behaviours. Rather, they are the epistemic artefact that holds together diverse things and objects, through which actionable knowledge is constructed and expressed. 2. Activity is not so much directed towards a specific thing or object (“the ultimate reason”) as it is this “ultimate reason” of learning. 3. Social contexts and material means is not an inanimate background, but rather as the very matter through which motives are expressed and coordinated, and through which the objects come to life.
  17. 17. The University of Sydney Page 17 Final points Productive epistemic artefacts connect the object (‘why’ of work) and the thing (‘what’ of work) trough action (‘know how’) and ways of thinking that underpin situated professional innovation.
  18. 18. The University of Sydney Page 18 If you are interested... Email us: Follow our website: https://epistemicfluency.com Lina.Marakauskaite@sydney.edu.au

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