Preparing graduates for ‘relational’ professions such as teaching, social work or Christian ministry requires not only cognitive learning but also formation of professional identity and capacity. However, as students increasingly choose to study online, educators report challenges in developing and assessing this sort of formational learning in non-face-to-face learning contexts. How can learning designers and educators design courses that enable the holistic formational graduate outcomes that are desired in many professions?
This research session will report on findings from a doctoral research project which is exploring online learning design for graduate formation. The session will:
– share insights gained from the research project on the types of learning and pedagogical approaches that are conducive to student formation
– outline the design approach, methodology, and evaluative approach used in the project and recommend helpful learning design practices
– reflect on the particular challenges for designing for holistic formational learning in online learning contexts and the benefits of a collaborative approach to learning design research and practice.
– the session will conclude by presenting for consideration by delegates a set of emerging design principles and pedagogical practices that can be applied to online course design to address student formation.
This session will be of interest to educators learning designers and practitioners working in online learning contexts. In particular it will be of interest to those in disciplines which seek to form professional capacity and identity in their graduates, or in learning contexts that require more of students than cognitive understanding or competency-based learning.
As a report on findings of a collaborative research project in further higher education this session sits in the wildcard theme, however its reflections on the collaborative aspects of learning design are also relevant to the collaboration for learning technology theme.
Session content: evaluation and reflection
This research session will report on findings from a doctoral research project which is exploring online learning design for graduate formation. It will present emerging learning design principles and pedagogical practices that can be applied to online course design to enhance the graduate formation of students.
The Formational Learning Design project draws on insights from learning theory and educational research in the field of Learning Design. It is using a design based research approach (Barab & Squire, 2004; McKenney & Reeves, 2012; Van den Akker et al., 2006) to design, implement and evaluate an online program of study, which has been implemented in three cycles over three years (2015–2017) at an Australian theological education college. In theological education ‘formation’ of student identity, character and practice for Christian ministry is a desired graduate outcome. A formative theological education is considered to be one that impacts the whole person, forming identity which results in transformed character and practice (Foster, et al 2006; Sherlock, 2009). The aim of the Formational Learning Design project is to therefore to examine how online courses can be designed to enable this type of holistic student formation to occur.
The researcher has worked collaboratively with participating educators in small design teams to design and implement new online units of study at the college. Learning design decisions are recorded in the form of design conjectures and their implementation as key design elements, the impact of which are being tracked by collecting data from student participants (n=120) via online questionnaires, interviews and student learning artefacts, and from participating educators (n=6) via journals and interviews. This data is being used to draw conclusions regarding learning design practices and principles that are helpful and effective in online learning design practice for student formation.
This session will share insights gained from this research on the types of learning and pedagogical approaches that are conducive to student formation. It will outline the design approach, methodology, and evaluative approach used in the project, reflecting on the particular challenges for designing for holistic formational learning in online learning contexts (Goodyear & Dimitriadis, 2013). It will also reflect on the benefits of a collaborative approach to learning design research. In particular it will discuss and recommend the use of ‘design conjectures’ and ‘conjecture mapping’ (Sandoval, 2014) as a helpful methodology for Learning Design research. And it will outline how the development of an evaluative approach using ‘formation indicators’ has enabled the researcher to ascertain whether the desired formational outcomes have been achieved and to what extent these are a result of the implemented design solution.
Barab, S. & Squire, K. (2004). Design based research: putting a stake in the ground. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1-14.
Mayes, T. & de Freitas, S. (2013) “Technology-Enhanced Learning: The Role of Theory.” Chap. 1 In Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age, edited by Helen Beetham and R. Sharpe. Oxon: Routledge, 17-30.
Foster C., Dahill, L., Golemon, L., Tolentino, B. (2006). Educating Clergy: Teaching Practices and the Pastoral Imagination. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Goodyear, P. & Dimitriadis, Y. (2013). In medias res: reframing design for learning. Research in Learning Technology. 21.
McKenney, S., & Reeves, T. (2012). Conducting Educational Design Research. Oxon: Routledge.
Sandoval, W. (2014). Conjecture Mapping: An Approach to Systematic Educational Design Research. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 23(1), 18-36.
Sherlock, C. (2009). Uncovering Theology, the Depth, Reach and Utility of Australian Theological Education. Adelaide: ATF Press, 13.
Van den Akker, J., Gravemeijer, K., McKenney, S., Nieveen, N. (2006). Educational Design Research. Routledge: London.
Resources for participants
Diane Hockridge posted an update in the session Learning Design for graduate formation: emerging principles and pedagogies [18-32] 1 year, 2 months ago
I have shared a copy of my presentation slides on Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Ae-4r9Tb6tKaKNyFKl_zE6GJwy6EjMeQ