Most learning situations are designed by the educator with very little input from students. Conole and Culver (2010) and Conole and Wills (2013) suggests that there is also little input or even discussion of learning designs among teachers. The reason for this lack of sharing of learning designs with students may be explained by Laurillard (2002) who says ‘universities are comfortable teaching specialist knowledge produced by experts, but practitioner knowledge and the skill to develop it, which is what the knowledge industry needs, is not a natural part of university curricula’ (p.134).
This paper reports on an MPhil/Ph.D. research study that looks at creating opportunities for students to develop skills for autonomous learning. As part of the research, a teaching approach is introduced that attempts to redesign topic level teaching and learning by embedding learning technology. The approach uses a three step apprenticeship model to teaching. Where the first step involves academics externalising and demonstrating the way they learn a topic. They do this by creating a learning design of how they would learn the topic. This design is shared with learners, who in the second step adjust the learning design produced by teachers to identify their own individual knowledge gaps, resources and learning strategies. During this step, the student co-create/co-design the learning designs with academics and peers. The third step sees academics fading into the background, allowing students to independently create learning designs which are then shared with the class.
This session presents how mind mapping technology is embedded into teaching practice to create a tool that aims to help educators and learners visualise, externalise and share the learning designs they use. Technology assists in the co-creation or co-design stage, allowing large cohorts of students to adjust the learning designs created by teachers. Students’ learning designs show their individual learning goals, learning strategies, how they monitor and evaluate their learning, and identify changes or improvements to learning their learning processes. Technology also assists with communications regarding learning designs. This tool which has been reviewed as part of the study by a panel of experts is presented to delegates.
The session will demonstrate how this approach aims to provide students with opportunities to develop skills that will help them independently monitor and regulate their learning. It will share initial research findings on teacher and student perceptions of learner autonomy. It discusses the new opportunities provided to teachers as ‘expert learners’ to help and guide ‘novice learners’ to develop skills needed to learning autonomously.
Conole, G. and Wills, S. (2013). ‘Representing learning designs – making design explicit and shareable.’ Educational Media International, 50 (1), 24–38.
Conole, G. and Culver, J. (2010). ‘The Design of Cloudworks: Applying Social Networking Practice to Foster the Exchange of Learning and Teaching Ideas and Designs.’ Computers & Education, 54 (3), 679-692.
Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking Teaching for the Knowledge Society. In: The Internet and the University: 2001 Forum. EDUCAUSE, Boulder, Colorado, 133-156.