I am delighted continue my relationship with colleagues in Croatia at CARNet and at Centar za e-učenje and SRCE. I have been asked to present Webinar on staff 'integration' of e-learning in their contemporary practice. The presentation for the Croatian National e-Learning Event on Wednesday 8th December comes at a rather opportune time as I have been writing about the myth of the 'net-generation' and the extent to which we are preparing academic staff adequately to work within contemporary expectations.
I've written a draft presentation entitled: Developing existing and new academic staff to integrate e-learning into their practice that explores the need for each cohort of academic staff to revision, revitalise and reposition their teaching to suit the appropriate context in which they teach. It therefore becomes less an issue of whether there exists such a thing as a 'net-generation' (I think not) but rather whether they have the reflective skills to enable them to position their practice appropriately and whether there exists learning design models that can support that practice. I cite the SOLE model as one possible approach but others certainly exist.
The original intention of the SOLE Learning Design model and its associated toolkit was, and remains, to embed academic professional development support 'inside' a learning development 'tool' and to embody good practice.
This isn't as simple as it sounds but I have to say I'm enjoying the attempt. The SOLE Model (Student-Owned Learning-Engagement Model) was first mooted at the end of 2009 and previewed at DEANZ in Wellington, NZ in April 2010. In July 2010 it was presented as a work in progress at the LAMS European Learning Design conference and a cloud floated on www.Cloudworks.ac.uk.
The response has been interesting, such a simple tool (Excel!) but an easy one to use, and for some, well suited to their approach. For me, the issue has been about producing a tangible product that the student will see, and potentially manipulate. That the student can see, and engage with the learning design is, I think, significant.
Version 1.2 of the SOLE 'Toolkit' has been uploaded today and a number of support videos (linked to from within the workbook) have been loaded onto www.YouTube.com/theSOLEmodel channel. The inclusion student feedback on time spent, the inclusion of Intended Learning Outcomes on each student view, and the development of significant guidance and advice on each element of the model makes me feel Version 1.2 is ready! But, there is more work to be done on the advice and guidance in particular and I am considering how that may link in time to pages here on WordPress. I would like if possible to keep it very much 'self-contained' within the toolkit but user feedback may change that.
It's been a rather hectic summer personally. Arriving back from New Zealand in mid July I have been organising all the personal issues that go with a 12,000 mile move and starting a new job. My new role at the London School of Economics and Political Science is with the Teaching and Learning Centre and is concerned primarily with helping to support, develop and deliver of the in-house PGCertHE.
I'm looking forward to getting into my own research, and writing again with Kevin Burden as well as extending the work of both the SOLE Model and the DiAL-e framework over the next few years. The LAMS Learning Design conference in Oxford in July was inspiring but there is a lot to do to reorient my own understanding to fit the work of the UK sector. I have had a lot of interest expressed in SOLE since Easter, and have begun exploring the opportunities of the GloMaker tool to provide DiAL-e framework learning patterns so there will, once I'm settled be more resources and more activity here on WordPress.
With thanks to colleagues form the GradDip Primary programme at Massey University who yesterday provided some great feedback, comment and criticism on the Student-Owned Learning Engagement model. I presented briefly the SOLE model and explained the underlying rational and then showed the 'rough' version of the excel workbook that constitutes the 'toolkit'.
The toolkit (see 'pages') is in some respects rather simple but appears to have captured the imagination of the group and as such was a spur to further development. So after incorporating some minor amendments I've taken the plunge and have released version 1.1 to the world! I have also created a shirt YouTube video to explain the basic structure and plan to develop some other resources soon.
The following brief video presentation was prepared for a Course Team workshop to introduce the SOLE Model.
The SOLE model is intended to be developmental, evaluative and descriptive. It is borne out of a desire to make the learning design process transparent to students, to encourage staff to share ‘patterns’ of learning with each other and to provide a basis for self-evaluation and development of specific learning designs. The model is not concerned with the design of specific learning activities but rather the appropriate balance between the different modes of student engagement anticipated.
The model does not prevent an academic scheduling four hours contact time a week and delivering a didactic lecture, but it would illuminate clearly that that was the approach being undertaken. Likewise, the model in and of itself does not prevent staff from reproducing an identical pattern of learning every week through a paper or course, but again, the models’ associated toolkit would make that process clear.
The SOLE model is not prescriptive and it is possible for teams to change and modify any aspect of the toolkit to suit their needs. The intention however is to provide staff with a model of effective practice such that one might be concerned about the quality of the student learning experience if the model illustrated a consistently ‘unbalanced’ approach.
One would anticipate that the visualisation generated by the toolkit would reflect a pattern of learning that differ from paper to paper, and from week to week. One could anticipate for example that in the first week of an undergraduate paper there would be significantly more ‘teacher-centeredness’ than in the twelfth week of a postgraduate paper. The visualisation will differ; the patterns can be expected to reflect different levels of engagement.
Centrality of Biggs Constructive Alignment
It is no coincidence that the model places the intended learning outcomes (ILO) at the centre. In each constructively aligned paper the pattern will be different because the learning outcomes, the assessment designed to illicit evidence of attainment and the patterns of teaching required to support that process will each be different. The SOLE model is precisely that, a model not a template. The model can, and should be adapted by staff to suit their particular approach to learning. It should reflect the nature both of their discipline, students existing context and the specific teaching environment.