There is growing evidence that engaging students more fully in their university experience creates an environment conducive to learning in partnership. Students have been conceptualised and located as ‘producers’ (Neary and Winn, 2009), as ‘collaborators’ (Taylor and Wilding, 2009) and as ‘co-creators’ (Bovill, Bulley and Morss, 2011), empowering them to take ownership of their learning experience and to act as active agents of change across the landscape of higher education (see, eg Dunne and Zandstra, 2011; Healey, 2014; Healey, Flint and Harrington, 2014; Kay, Dunne and Hutchison, 2010). This paper examines the learner experience on a research-based module on a BA Social Science programme, which, as part of the assessment regime, engaged learners in co-creative learning experiences through the production of tangible learning outputs. It examines the way in which the Xerte learning technology provided both a creative outlet and a totem around which students coalesced, forming learning communities that disrupted and reconfigured existing staff/student hierarchies and reshaped the learning landscape. To support these claims, it examines empirical evidence to consider the way in which the use of creative learning technologies such as Xerte, when underpinned by inclusive and participatory pedagogies, can transform the learning experience and position learners as participants in reshaping the learning and assessment landscape. By discussing the pedagogy and methodology introduced through the use of Xerte, and triangulating the literature around the learner as agent of change with the empirical data collected across the course of the module, the paper will argue that not only can students act as ‘change agents’, but will comfortably do so when provided with learning opportunities that offer the freedom to explore and create their learning environment. It will also show that the pedagogy and methodology employed in the use of the learning technology provides a flexible, inclusive and sustainable model where learners are engaged as agents, actively transforming their and others’ learning experience. It will also argue that through this process learners are engaged in a process of critical reflection where they begin to reconceptualise traditional learning environments and reposition themselves as autonomous and interdependent learners, taking active ownership of their learning.
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