East Midlands Learning Technologists

East Midlands Learning Technologists' Group, supported by ALT

EMLT Spring 2016 round up

on May 26, 2016

springThe Spring EMLT meeting took place on Wednesday 18 May at the University of Derby. We would like to extend our thanks to Derby for hosting the event, and to Claire Gardener – Senior Learning Technology Adviser at Derby who organised the event.

The day was kicked off by Rob Weale who introduced the theme – Training and Development in the use of Technology for Teaching, Learning and Assessment. Rob’s brief intro offered some food for thought in terms of the skills and knowledge that an educator is perhaps required to possess in order to effectively use technology to enhance teaching, learning and assessment. Such as the ability to use, implement and operationalise particular technologies; knowledge and understanding of the pedagogic effectiveness of technology; the ability to articulate the pedagogic rationale for the use of technology to learners; and the ability to support learners in their use of technologies. All of which requires careful consideration with respect to training and development.

Presentations

Mark Berthelemy – Houston, we have a problem

Mark’s presentation asked/posed some fundamental questions that have an impact on how we might approach training and development. He argued that perhaps the problem, in terms of driving engagement with TEL via training and development programmes is not a lack of content or lack of people willing to help – it’s a problem of motivation. Why should people change their practices? What’s in it for them? So given this, how can we persuade, cajole, influence and drive people to change their behaviours and adopt new systems & practices?

As part of his answer Mark proposed that it is important to consider what motivates people to learn. His three suggestions were: Fear – e.g. my work/employer/situation requires that I learn this; Personal/professional advancement – e.g. learning this will offer more opportunities for me to advance; and Curiosity – e.g. I’m just interested in this thing, so I want to learn more about it. The problem is not lack of content or lack of people willing to help. It’s a problem of motivation. Why should people change their practices? What’s in it for them? How can we persuade, cajole, influence and drive people to change their behaviours and adopt new systems & practices?

As part of his answer Mark proposed that it is important to consider what motivates people to learn. His three suggestions were: Fear – e.g. my work/employer/situation requires that I learn this; Personal/professional advancement – e.g. learning this will offer more opportunities for me to advance; and Curiosity – e.g. I’m just interested in this thing, so I want to learn more about it.

http://berthelemy.github.io/reveal-houston-problem/#/

Rachel Challen – Enigma

Rachel’s presentation offered a broad overview of recent strategic approaches to training and development at Loughborough College. Their approach seeks to immerse staff in an experience which uses technology to develop digital capabilities to underpin teaching and learning in general, but also in areas of the curriculum that are being given a specific strategic focus, e.g. Maths and English.

Rachel demonstrated how their model incorporated a team approach strand, and an individual approach strand, both of which were combined to underpin a distinctive and innovative whole college approach to training and development.

Examples of recent whole college initiatives were given, including the latest (2015) titled Enigma which targeted Maths and English provision – http://www.loucoll.ac.uk/enigma/

View presentation slides (pptx)

Joanna Webb – Use of virtual reality in Health and Safety Assessment

Jo gave an overview of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, and approaches to the use of these technologies that have recently been developed by Pearson (PLC). The technologies included a virtual reality style headset that facilitated a 360 degree immersive video experience – the focus of which was health and safety at work. The augmented reality solution was presented through the lens of the teaching and learning potentials offered by such technology. Jo’s presentation also inspired some further discussion about how such ‘physical’ technologies can/might impact on approaches to training and development in their use specifically for teaching, learning and assessment purposes.

View presentation slides (pptx)

Sue Pears – Developing staff to develop online discussions for blended learning purposes

Sue offered a detailed overview of a strategy that she had used to evolve a pre-existing five week training and development course to effectively meet the changing needs of the learners.

The re-development strategy that was employed used an iterative process of ‘reduce, reuse, and redesign’ which involved reflection on the course by those delivering it as well as those taking it. Each iteration generally resulted in a streamlining of the course, which meant some components of it were rejected – however, these components were not simply binned, but where possible and appropriate were re-used in other training and development situations.

After several iterations it was felt that the course has arrived at its optimal current state for the learning requirements of the current learners. However, the iterative process would be continued as it was seen to be an effective means of evolving a training and development course to meet what are the dynamically evolving requirements and abilities of learners over time.

View presentation slides (pptx)

Helen Crump – The potential of Work Out loud and Work Out Loud Circles for professional development

Helen presented an overview of the Work Out Loud initiative about which she is currently conducting research for the Open University. Work Out Loud concerns making your working processes visible as an ongoing process, in an open and accessible format. Such that others can follow it and potentially contribute to it – in process, rather than retrospectively. It has a dual function in terms of: 1. articulating approaches to working practice for others to learn from and; 2. inviting comments and suggestions as to how one might approach a current working process. Helen noted that as a relatively small, underground and little-known practice, it is one that appears to be gaining significant attention and traction. Such as the emergence of Work Out Loud Circles which are small peer groups, focused around the particular individual goals of its members – and not solely confined to working practice.

Helen’s presentation also raised some interesting discussion around the notion of ownership of ones individual working practices and processes and the extent to which there is an emerging trend for these to be co-opted in organisational, corporate and institutional settings via the Work Out Loud ethos.

View presentation slides (pptx)

Chris Bell and Rob Higson – Digital Derby

Digital Derby is an institutional wide project to develop digital literacy skills for both staff and students. Chris’ part of presentation offered an overview of the project, and explained how this has influenced a new approach to staff training. One that is moving away from a tool-led approach to training and development, to one where staff are empowered to select the appropriate tool for their teaching, learning and assessment requirements. The key to this strategy is creating an information space which allows staff to easily identify potential technology-based interventions that would be effective for their teaching, and signposting them to the relevant information to assist them in the implementation of the technology.

Rob presented an example of practice which exemplified the type of approach the Digital Derby initiative was intended to encourage. The example concerned a student group presentation which was assessed. Where usually these presentations were assessed in a real-time face-to-face format, this had been changed to a video based assignment. One in which the students were free to choose the technologies that they used to create their group video presentation. This allowed students to draw upon their own personal digital literacies, utilising technologies that they were most comfortable with rather than prescribed tech which they may not be familiar with and so be required to invest time in learning how to operate.

View presentation slides (pptx)

Discussion

The presentations were followed by an open floor discussion about training and development in the use of technology for teaching, learning and assessment. In particular exploring some of the issues and barriers encountered in developing and delivering training and development, and how these had been/or might be overcome (or not). Several issues which had been raised by the presentations were also discussed and unpacked through the lens of the experiences of those present. The open and informal dialogue that emerged from this discourse, being grounded as it was in practice and personal experience offered a wealth of information, new ideas and a sense of shared solidarity in our work as learning/educational technologists; and as such highlighted the value of the EMLT network in this respect.

Next EMLT meeting

The HELM team at Nottingham University have kindly offered to host the next EMLT meeting (Late Summer). The date will most likely be sometime in late August.

So watch this space . . .

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