Innovating pedagogy 2013 Report: what floats my boat

The Open University have just released their Innovating Pedagogy Report 2013. Thanks to Ian Baxter for the heads up 🙂

The report aims to examine how innovations in pedagogy might be enacted in an age of personal and networked technologies (pg 7). I would suggest the report is complementary to the Gartner Hype Cycle, through placing the emphasis on new ways of teaching, learning and assessment. Therefore, a key message is it is not technology looking for a formal teaching application.

So what does this report mean to an old dog like me? (I have been a learning technologist for a long, long time).

Being an old dog many of these pedagogical innovations have been under discussion and development for a number of years, such as learning from gaming, digital scholarship, geo-learning and crowd learning. However, a few innovations did strike accord given my current interests. I am particularly interested in badges for accredit learning and learning analytics, especially within the context of MOOCs.

These innovations have the potential to facilitate innovative pedagogues. For instance, the use of transferrable, learning owned badges offers a lot in terms of learning motivations and gaining recognition of skills and achievements. I am aware our VLE includes the achievements (badges) functionality, so how might we include this within our online digital literacies courses? Do students care? How would we make our content and learning aims transferable?

Similarly, Learning analytics (which is data-driven analysis of learning activities and environments) offers lecturers a new insight into their students learning. For instance, a really simple use would be to facilitate the flipped classroom agenda, by allowing lecturers to easily analyse their students pre-session activities. This should deliver more personalised and focussed learning pathway.

However, the report does make me reflect on how likely are these innovations to become widely adopted? It does make me wonder, what is the role of the learning technologist with the course team? For instance, at present the learning technologist will be aware of these innovations and success and failure of the early adopters across the sector. Their role will be to share these ideas with course teams. While if course teams a going to successfully implement these ideas they need to design them into their learning designs. The question is, within the current modules at most HE institutes, are the learning technologists involved early enough within the process to enable this transfer to happen? I’d suggest not. So, when discussing this report with institutional policy makers (as it suggests we should) it is crucial we discuss it within the context of course development.

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