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Epistemic fluency in higher education: bridging actionable knowledgeable and knowledgeable action. Oxford seminar 2016 11 15

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A summary of the key ideas in the book "Epistemic fluency in higher education".

Based on the seminar: Epistemic fluency in higher education: bridging actionable knowledgeable and knowledgeable action"

15 November 2016 16:30
Seminar Room G
Speaker: Lina Markauskaite, Associate Professor,  Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation, University of Sydney

Conveners: Dr Ian Thompson and Professor Harry Daniels, OSAT

What does it take to be a productive member of a multidisciplinary team working on a complex problem? How do people get better at these things? How can researchers get deeper insight in these valued capacities; and how can teachers help students develop them? Working on real-world professional problems usually requires the combination of different kinds of specialised and context-dependent knowledge, as well as different ways of knowing. People who are flexible and adept with respect to different ways of knowing about the world can be said to possess epistemic fluency.
Drawing upon and extending the notion of epistemic fluency, in this research seminar, I will present some key ideas that we developed studying how university teachers teach and students learn complex professional knowledge and skills. Our account combines grounded and enacted cognition with sociocultural and material perspectives of human knowing and focus on capacities that underpin knowledgeable action and innovative professional work.  In this seminar, I will discuss critical roles of grounded conceptual knowledge, ability to embrace professional materially-grounded ways of knowing and students’ capacities to construct their epistemic environments.

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Epistemic fluency in higher education: bridging actionable knowledgeable and knowledgeable action. Oxford seminar 2016 11 15

  1. 1. The University of Sydney Page 1 Epistemic fluency in higher education: Bridging actionable knowledge and knowledgeable action Lina Markauskaitė Acknowledgements: ARC DP0988307 Peter Goodyear, Agnieszka Bachfischer and many others 15 November 2016 @ OSAT, Oxford
  2. 2. The University of Sydney Page 2 Why epistemic fluency? Some trends & expectations from (future) professionals 1. Evidence-generating practice 2. Relational expertise 3. “Second-hand” knowledge 4. Open innovation & co- configuration What does it mean for HE? Knowledge Flexibility, Adaptability ? Moving away from knowledge “…learning for an unknown future has to be a learning understood neither in terms of knowledge or skills but of human qualities and dispositions.” “Learning for an unknown future” (Barnett, 2004, 247) Rethinking knowledge & skills: Epistemic fluency
  3. 3. The University of Sydney Page 3 Aims/Questions 1. What is the nature of actionable professional knowledge and knowing? 2. How is such knowledge taught and learnt in professional education? 3. How could this be done better? To develop a “suitcase” of tools that help us understand learning for complex knowledge-rich professional work Focus – professional knowledgeable action and innovation
  4. 4. The University of Sydney Page 4 Today Context 1. Roots and key concepts Few examples 2. Professional epistemic games 3. Assembling epistemic environments 4. Constructing actionable concepts
  5. 5. The University of Sydney Page 5 Roots and key concepts
  6. 6. The University of Sydney Page 6 Actionable knowledge Knowledge as a tool for action “People who use tools actively rather than just acquire them . . . build an increasingly rich understanding of the world in which they use the tools and of the tools themselves” (Brown et al, 1989, 33) Actionable knowledge is “knowledge that is particularly useful to get things accomplished in practical activities” (After Yinger & Lee, 1993, 100)
  7. 7. The University of Sydney Page 7 Epistemic games “When people engage in investigations – legal, scientific, moral, political, or other kinds – characteristic moves occur again and again” (Perkins, 1997, 50) Epistemic games are patterns of inquiry that have characteristic forms, moves, goals and rules used by different epistemic communities to conduct inquiries (Morrison & Collins, 1996) Examples – Creating a list – Creating a taxonomy – Making a comparison – Proving a theorem – Doing a controlled experiment
  8. 8. The University of Sydney Page 8 Epistemic fluency defined... Epistemic fluency is an ability “to use and recognise a relatively large number of epistemic games” (Morrison & Collins, 1996, 108) But… “...decision making, problem solving, and like kinds of thinking do not have specifically epistemic goals – goals of building knowledge and understanding” (Perkins, 1997, 55) ...through epistemic games
  9. 9. The University of Sydney Page 9 Epistemic fluency (re)defined Epistemic fluency as a capacity… 1. to integrate different kinds of knowledge 2. to coordinate different ways of knowing 3. to assemble epistemic environment 4. to construct consci(enci)ous self
  10. 10. The University of Sydney Page 10 Knowledge(ing): Culture, practice and resourcefulness (Personal) epistemic- conceptual resourcefulness (Local) epistemic practices (Global) knowledge cultures Actionable knowledge(ing) Innovation
  11. 11. The University of Sydney Page 11 Some key concepts Objects are entities people act towards and/or act with (Star, 2010) Epistemic objects (artefacts) 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... (Knorr Cetina, 2001) Objects are the foundation of enduring professional practices, discovery and innovation . . . and human consciousness and learning Objectual “epistemic practice” perspective
  12. 12. The University of Sydney Page 12 Some key concepts “…the amalgam of places, bodies, voices, skills, practices, technical devices, theories, social strategies and collective work, that together constitutes techno-scientific knowledge practices” (Turnbull, 2000, 44) Epistemic assemblage
  13. 13. The University of Sydney Page 14 Some key concepts “Deep learning” & five approaches in psychology 1. Phenomenological 2. Neuro-psychological 3. Environmentalist 4. Situated or sociocultural 5. Mentalist “Closing escape routes” for mind “Opening escape routes” for mind Grounded cognition: embodied, extended, enculturated, enacted, existential mind
  14. 14. The University of Sydney Page 15 Information Processing view of mind: Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational (ACT-R) architecture From “Deep learning”, Ohlsson, 2011
  15. 15. The University of Sydney Page 16 Conceptual understanding is a capacity to construct situated conceptualisations Some key concepts 1. selected properties 2. information about the background settings 3. possible actions 4. perceptions of internal states: affects, motivations, AND cognitive states and operations Grounded, (multi)modal view of conceptual knowledge Barsalou, 1999, 2009 Aspirin
  16. 16. The University of Sydney Page 17 Some key concepts ...a multimodal assemblage that characterises the “machinery” for knowledge construction (Knorr-Cetina, 2007) A multimodal view Epistemic... (Meta)cognitive Social Embodied & Embrained Material Epistemic
  17. 17. The University of Sydney Page 18 Our conceptual-empirical work 1. Epistemic objects and artefacts 2. Inscriptions and inscriptional practices 3. Epistemic tools and infrastructures: creating epistemic assemblages 4. *Epistemic games 5. *Conceptual and epistemic resourcefulness Analytical lenses 6. *Entwinement of social, material and embodied with cognition in professional knowledge practices
  18. 18. The University of Sydney Page 19 Method: “Cognitive-cultural archaeology” Phase 1 Phase 2 Disciplines Pharmacy Nursing Social work School counseling Education Pharmacy Education Sample 20 professional practice courses 24 projects-assessment tasks 3 tutorial groups 2 students’ groups Data Course resources Interviews Observations Course resources Open interviews Methods Epistemic interviewing Cognitive task analysis Ethno- audio/video taped observations Analysis of professional practice tasks and students’ activities
  19. 19. The University of Sydney Page 20 Learning to play epistemic games
  20. 20. The University of Sydney Page 21 Epistemic games in professional learning To uncover characteristic ways of knowing that future professionals learn to enact when they are performing complex knowledge- demanding professional tasks Aim But... “...decision making, problem solving, and like kinds of thinking do not have specifically epistemic goals – goals of building knowledge and understanding” (Perkins, 1997, 55)
  21. 21. The University of Sydney Page 22 From “formal” to “functional” epistemic games Formal epistemic games – patterns of inquiry that are used in a system of formal professional reasoning and judgement Functional epistemic games – patterns of inquiry which contribute to the way participants generate (situated) knowledge that informs their action (After Greeno, 2012)
  22. 22. The University of Sydney Page 23 Principles for identifying and sorting out games 1. A distinct functional epistemic goal and recognisable form of the outcome 2. Identifiable characteristic moves, rules and other generative mechanisms and principles of how to proceed 1. Epistemic agenda 2. Epistemic focus 3. Nature of object 4. Nature of expertise Sorting out gamesIdentifying games
  23. 23. The University of Sydney Page 24 Findings: Playing & weaving epistemic games Epistemic games 2. Situated problem-solving games 3. Meta-professional games Research games Producing games Coding games Concept combination games Articulation games Evaluation games Making games 4. Trans-professional games Sense-making games Exchanging games 1. Propositional games 6. Weaving games 5. Translational public games Conceptual tool- making games Routine games Semi-scripted games Concept games Public tool- making games Organising games Open games Investigative discourse games Decomposing & assembling games Flexible games Semi-constrained games Situation-specific games Standardisation discourse games Conceptual discourse games Informal discourse games
  24. 24. The University of Sydney Page 25 Propositional (formal) games Research games Concept combination games Conceptual tool games Example: A conceptual tool game Epistemic agenda – to enhance conceptual understanding that informs action
  25. 25. The University of Sydney Page 29 Translational public discourse games Reading games Concept games Public tool-making games Example: A tool-making game Epistemic agenda – to extend professional knowledgeable action to the actions of others in everyday world
  26. 26. The University of Sydney Page 30 Weaving games Open games Semi-scripted games Routine games Example: An open game Epistemic agenda – to weave language, physical and symbolic actions for enhancing functionality of professional knowledgeable work
  27. 27. The University of Sydney Page 31 Summary: Functional epistemic games Game Epistemic agenda Propositional games Enhancing conceptual understanding Situated problem-solving Enhancing situated understanding Meta-professional games Enhancing professional perception Trans-professional games Enhancing joint knowledgeable action Translational public games Extending professional knowledgeable action to “lay” others “Weaving” games Enhancing functionality of professional knowledgeable work through embodied action, and social and material environment
  28. 28. The University of Sydney Page 32 Key insights 1. From cognitive and discourse structures to physicality and materiality of epistemic games 2. From enhancing individual understanding to all microsystem’s capacity for knowledgeable action 3. From construction of a knowledge object to a dynamic system and its environment for knowledgeable activity Professional learning for knowledgeable action goes far beyond formal epistemic games
  29. 29. The University of Sydney Page 33 Epistemic resourcefulnessAssembling epistemic environment
  30. 30. The University of Sydney Page 34 Case: Teaching to “work scientifically”  Preservice primary teachers  Learning to teach science through inquiry  Developing lesson plans & resources, teaching, reflecting/improving  Teaching about material properties with nappies, chips, etc.
  31. 31. The University of Sydney Page 35 Assembling epistemic environment Agi: Um two things you could put in the lesson plan. (…) we could do the nametags. (…) Nat: Do you reckon ((seems confused about using nametags))? Agi: It means when you look at a student, you do – you can use their name. Nat: I felt so bad for that kid that I was like – I picked her out (…) Tweaking physical environment to compensate for the lack of situated knowledge [Environment] [Environment] [Self-Emotions] [Self-Cognition] [Environment] [Self- Emotions/Reflection]
  32. 32. The University of Sydney Page 36 Assembling epistemic environment and constructing conscious self Tweaking an epistemic form to scaffold one’s knowledgeable decisions
  33. 33. The University of Sydney Page 37 Main insights 1. Seeing self, others and environment as a dynamic epistemic assemblage is central to professional knowing 2. Professional actionable knowing is inseparable from capacities to (co)construct epistemic environments that enhance knowledgeable actions
  34. 34. The University of Sydney Page 38 Conceptual resourcefulnessConstructing actionable concepts
  35. 35. The University of Sydney Page 39 Integrating mind, body, social and environment into one (multimodal) actionable concept Agi: And so they’ve got four – I don’t know how many layers in a nappy. This is layer A, B, C, D ((draws)). So then they test A, B, C, D, for … [4 seconds] I don’t know what it is, like hard err waterproof I think. Maybe we can divide them into groups. Maybe so, group 1 // test = (…) Jill: // And then we also need less stuff, we don’t need to like have… [4 seconds] and if there’s three [groups], are there three things that are being tested then one of us can be in each of these groups. Designing a worksheet for a “scientific experiment” [Material] [Symbolic] [Cognitive/ Conceptual] [Social] [Cognitive/Conceptual] [Material] [Social] [Cognitive/Conceptual] [Self-Body] [Social]
  36. 36. The University of Sydney Page 41 Constructing actionable concepts by grounding Jill: You could have a jigsaw kind of thing happening. (…) Where you take, so if you’ve got groups, you’ve got everyone in their individual groups and then you switch it around so that you share it with the other people that were not in your group. (….) Jill: It could get messy, I know, I know, but just as theoretical – it sounds like it could work, but I don’t know in practice. (….) Jill: Yeah, but kids, I don’t think there’s gonna be that much discussion, I just think that’s gonna be more “show me your thing” and then ((shows writing gesture)) copy, copy, copy ((all laugh)). You know how it is. (….) Nat: But maybe … [4 seconds] (…) ‘cause I remember with – when we did jigsaw – like the kids ‘d actually test, like we were tested like when we did it in a tutorial, we were tested on it, so it wasn’t just procrastination. They must have actually done something. From pre-service teachers conversation: “Jigsaw” [Formal] [Functional] [Formal] [Functional] [Functional] [Situated] [Functional] [Situated] [Functional] [Situated] [Functional]
  37. 37. The University of Sydney Page 42 Main insights 1. Social, material and embodied are essential features of actionable concepts 2. Professional learning is not so much about abandoning and replacing one’s “naive” experiential knowledge and ways of knowing, but about capacity to integrate and coordinate productively formal, functional and experiential knowledge and ways of knowing
  38. 38. The University of Sydney Page 43 Final notes
  39. 39. The University of Sydney Page 44 Sideway s Forward UpDownIn Epistemic fluency (re)defined Epistemic fluency as a capacity… 1. to integrate different kinds of knowledge 2. to coordinate different ways of knowing 3. to assemble epistemic environment 4. to construct consci(enci)ous self Learning as growing… ... as consci(enci)ous inhabiting
  40. 40. The University of Sydney Page 45 If you are interested... Follow our website: https://epistemicfluency.com Email: Lina.Marakauskaite@sydney.edu.au eBook link

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