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Supporting Work Based Learners. Tuesday, 19 April 2011 David Young Professor of Work Based Learning National Teaching Fellow. Work-based learning in HE The context What kinds of support do work-based learners like?

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Supporting work based learners

Supporting Work Based Learners

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

David Young

Professor of Work Based Learning

National Teaching Fellow

Supporting work based learners

Work-based learning in HEThe context

What kinds of support do work-based learners like?

On-line Tutorial Dialogue in Learning through Work: Reporting on two research investigations

Dimensions of online tutoringSharing group perceptions


What is work based learning wbl in higher education
What is Work Based Learning (WBL) in Higher Education?

Real Higher Education …

… challenging

… rigorous

… demanding

… equivalent to other university programmes

… aligned with Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) qualification descriptors

Real Higher Education

What is work based learning wbl in higher education1
What is Work Based Learning (WBL) in Higher Education?

Many locations where higher level learning happens

People learn at work all the time

Takes work and professional practice as the starting point for designing a programme of learning

Work based learning is useful

Knowledge and skills learned in the workplace can move your business forward.

What is work based learning wbl in higher education2
What is Work Based Learning (WBL) in Higher Education?

Combines academic and theoretical knowledge with work-based skills …

… to relate the familiar circumstances of work to the requirements of an academic award …



knowledge of professional practice


communicating learning

Tutors, colleagues, customers and managers may all benefit from knowing what learners have learned

Seven elements of a work based curriculum
Seven elements of a work-based curriculum

  • Work-based learning, while often undertaken in work, is not identical to work.

  • Address the diverse range of skills and knowledge possessed by learners coming to work-based learning at the beginning of the process.

  • Locate the outcomes of work-based learning in a framework of awards based on known and identified levels and standards of achievement.

  • Promote the ideas of negotiation and development within a programme of activities.

  • Develop a means of supporting learners at work or in any other location remote from a campus.

  • Encourage critical reflection throughout the programme.

  • Document learning in a form which can be assessed in terms of the awards frameworks already identified.

    (after Boud 2001)

What kinds of support do work based learners like
What kinds of support do work-based learners like?

  • advice available at the time it’s needed, mainly in response to queries

  • help in thinking things through;

  • help to adjust to the unfamiliar culture of higher education;

  • constructive feedback building their confidence in their ability;

  • sensitivity and responsiveness to the changing needs of the student’s work-place.

    Stephenson, J. & Saxton, J. (2005) Using the Internet to gain personalized degrees from learning through work: some experience from Ufiin: Industry and Higher Education, Vol 19, No 3: 249-258

Supporting work based learners

On-line Tutorial Dialogue in Learning Through Work

Reporting on two research investigations

Work based learners and tutors what do they talk about
Work-based learners and tutors: what do they talk about?

  • When Learning through Work (LtW) was operational, it used an email dialogue facility which linked learners with their tutors.

  • I’ve undertaken two pieces of research to find out what learners are talking to tutors about on-line.

  • In total, I examined about 2500 on-line tutorial dialogues of literally THOUSANDS of these on the LtW website.

Why these studies
Why these studies?

There’s a lot of literature about higher education and online! But generally research into technology and higher education aims to understand:

  • the use of ICT to support learning in a conventional university environment

  • the relationship between ICT and learning outcomes

  • students’ attitudes to ICT as a mode of delivery and

  • the focus is often on groups and conferences

What are they talking about
What are they talking about?

  • Both studies explore issues emerging from one-to-one exchanges between individual learners and their tutors.

  • The aim: to gain insight into student (and tutor!) experiences of self-managed on-line learning-through-work programmes leading to university qualifications.

  • All the data was “live” and working – none of it was set up simply for research purposes.

Methodology 1
Methodology 1

  • constructivist perspective using qualitative methods

  • combines features of discourse and content analysis

  • units of meaning developed and grouped into common themes

  • Participants - 9 postgraduate learners, 3 tutors, 670 messages

  • Learners give implicit consent through LTW site

  • Specific permission was also gained from learners selected for the study

    Bosley, S. & Young, D. (2006) On-line Learning Dialogues in Leaning through Work, in Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 18, No 6, pp. 355-366

Methodology 2
Methodology 2

  • a qualitative methodology, drawing on features of grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1994)

  • Eight tutors - all experienced HE lecturers – Work-based learning generalists with a range of disciplinary specialisms

  • 33 learners - all adults (30+) undertaking negotiated undergraduate programmes

  • Over 1800 online exchanges included in the study

  • Developed emerging propositions for both learners and tutors to contribute to wider debates on work-based learning. Young, D. & Stephenson, J. (2007)

    The Use of an Interactive Learning Environment to Support Learning through Work, in: Young, D. & Garnett, J. (Eds.) (2007) Work-based Learning Futures, Bolton, UVAC

Supporting work based learners


Dialogues could be initiated by either party … but most dialogues studied were initiated by learners

Dialogue Exchange Formats

Most dialogues follow one of three patterns:

a basic initiation-response

a chain of exchanges along the lines of initiation-response-feedback …

… and sometimes feedback on the feedback!

prolonged sequences of exchanges in which several different issues are raised and ideas, opinions and reflections are discussed.

Learner on line activity
Learner On-line Activity

  • Asking questions

  • Reporting progress and plans

  • Seeking feedback

  • Giving feedback

  • Disclosing personal information and feelings

Tutor on line activity
Tutor On-line Activity

  • Giving direct answers

  • Advising and suggesting

  • Explaining and elaborating

  • Giving feedback

  • Signposting and referring

  • Encouraging and reassuring

What they re talking about
What They’re Talking About

  • Administrative/organisational

  • Programme Design

  • Technical

  • Academic

  • Affective

  • Social

What they re talking about1
What They’re Talking About

Academic Dimensions

  • Valid knowledge

  • Progress and plans

  • Focus

  • Work-Based Research

  • Writing

What we found
What We Found face-to-face approaches

What we found1
What We Found face-to-face approaches

Supporting work based learners

Focus on Work face-to-face approaches

I feel I could look at the way that my company's environment is in a state of flux (alluding to my Marketing Plan) and critically analyse the ways in which the staff may respond to the change in the format of a report.

I have discussed with my manager which kinds of modules and workplace projects that could be built in to the programme.

Since becoming supervisor I have taken over responsibility for stock control within the company. I have created a new system which now controls the stock levels to a much finer degree.

Learner Control / Learner Initiatives

We have had some news at work that may affect the research component I have been working on. I want to discuss a possible change of direction within this module

I have had an exciting idea concerning the development of a series of spreadsheets … I have altered my timescale for completion of my final piece of work

Supporting work based learners

Clarification / Seeking Reassurance face-to-face approaches

You will guide me as to the amount and level of work I need to produce to meet the required credits won't you?

Thanks for your support and guidance at present; I really needed those words of encouragement

Thanks so much for the result and feedback. Just sitting in the office telling all!! Can't believe I did so well.

H.E. Culture

Thank you for your support. I feel I've learnt a lot from you about creating professional, academic work in the business area.

Social / Affective Issues

e.g. season’s greetings, jokes, literary quotations, holiday dates, the price of beer in Prague, information about domestic events

Affective (Usually initiated by learners)

varying from: “going round in circles”, “losing the plot” to being “on a roll” with studies.

What we found2
What We Found face-to-face approaches

Emerging propositions 1
Emerging Propositions 1 face-to-face approaches

Work-based learners are not passive recipients of knowledge.

  • They are likely to be the instigators of tutorial dialogue.

  • They are willing and capable of taking responsibility for shaping and managing their own university programmes.

  • Having online support and resources helps because learners can access these at the point when they identify a need for them, rather than when they might appear on a lecture or seminar schedule.

  • Writing things down is good! Having to get your thoughts in order by formulating written communication on-line potentially leads to more focused and productive exchanges.

  • They can initiate and sustain academic discourse on-line.

  • They feel a sense of pride and achievement in doing so.

Emerging propositions 2
Emerging Propositions 2 face-to-face approaches

Tutors are effective when they have:

  • Knowledge of credit systems and academic regulations;

  • Confidence to support generic skills - academic writing, referencing, research, personal development planning, et.c.

  • Confidence to seek ways of working which effectively draw upon and enhance subject disciplines without being constrained by them.

  • The tone of tutorial discourse is critical. To help learners maintain momentum and motivation it needs to balance friendliness and a degree of informality with clear and precise guidance.

Dimensions of online tutoring sharing group perceptions
Dimensions of online tutoring face-to-face approaches: Sharing Group Perceptions

  • Start with two broad categories:


  • Share out the statement cards provided.

  • Place your own statements in the AGREE or DISAGREE categories.

  • Now AS A GROUP discuss the statements, and …

  • Reduce the number of statements to 12.

  • Arrange, prioritise and make a note of these

  • 12 statements in a diamond, as on the template provided.

Priorities face-to-face approaches

Your next task as a group is to reduce the number of statements to 12 and to arrange these 12 statements in a diamond, like this:

 Agree

 

  

  

 

 Disagree

Supporting work based learners

Write your own group’s statement about face-to-face approaches


or re-word one of the existing statements

to make it more fully reflective of your group’s


Be prepared to present and discuss

your rank order and group statement

with others.

Your questions

Your questions face-to-face approaches