Deakin University: Driving change management to enhance blended learning

Insights from the School of Exercise & Nutrition at Deakin University

Much of the published content on blended learning has focused significantly on changes in pedagogy, and how technology is influencing the way teachers deliver content to support student learning outcomes.

This is undoubtedly a crucial part of the effort to ‘blend’ different learning methods to improve the student experience, but what about the cultural and mindset implications of blended learning?

There is an increasing trend in which universities are experiencing difficulty introducing technology and different ways of teaching. Encouraging academics to embrace a blended learning approach in units of study is far easier said than done; not to mention securing buy-in at the executive level.

As a result, building a culture around blended learning has fast become a critical success factor – from being able to demonstrate the value of blended learning on student outcomes to answering the WIIFM (‘What’s-In-it-For-Me) conundrum. And then, of course, nurturing the engagement of all stakeholders along the journey.

While there is no standard framework to build a culture around blended learning, or seamlessly introduce technology and methods of teaching, there are ways that project teams can use existing resources to trial different techniques.

Ahead Blended Learning 2016, Susie MacFarlane, Senior Facilitator, Teaching Excellence and Innovation, shared insight into her team’s efforts to enable a blended learning environment for students at the School of Exercise & Nutrition, Deakin University.

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Susie Macfarlane, Senior Facilitator, Teaching Excellence and Innovation

University learning management systems have traditionally been used to host individual files such as study guides and readings, as well as lecture recordings and synchronous classroom recordings.

Often the LMS becomes a resource repository, rather than providing a clear and engaging learning path for students. I work as an educational developer and change agent in a school of more than 60 academics in a very technologically advanced university.

My challenge was – how can we shift our thinking and capacity across the whole school to design clear learning pathways that motivate and assist students to learn? We have developed a learning design process and template to guide our academics in developing a learning path with resources, activities, links to discussion board and formative assessments.

And we are also starting to use eLearning software such as Articulate Storyline, to resource a high quality blended learning experience.

We make available online some of the resources that were originally delivered face to face by the lecturer so the students can access them before or after the classroom or seminar experience.

Therefore, in the classroom we can start to establish more student-centred learning and active learning approaches, such as team based learning, classroom activities, discussion questions and so on.

In this way, some of the information transmission and even active learning processes that don’t require a teacher to be there now occur asynchronously, through online resources students can access when it suits them.

For example, in our food chemistry labs, students print out and bring along the results of their eLearning module they completed prior to entering the lab. In this way, we can guarantee our students are prepared to undertake the lab activities, and they can spend the time more effectively developing their lab skills.

Susie’s insights into changing the mindset round blended learning and capacity are part of an in-depth case study that explored how her team continues to successfully introduce innovative blended learning techniques to support student learning outcomes. 

Read the full case study to learn more about: 

  1. Designing clear learning pathways for student-centred learning
  2. Building a model of organisational change and capacity building
  3. Introducing a new learning approach through strategic change management
  4. Running a subtle pilot project for the new learning approach
  5. Maintaining an integrated team model to improve blended learning

For more information on the Blended Learning Summit, please download the brochure or visit http://www.blended-learning.com.au.

The Summit will bring together leading educators and learning design specialists to present in-depth case studies, outline key challenges faced, what they have achieved and how they have enhanced the student experience.

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How to maximise existing space for student-centred learning: Campus masterplanning at Curtin University

Universities operating in a tight fiscal environment have dominated media headlines in recent times. In spite of the negative vibes attached to this theme, many tertiary establishments are becoming more innovative with their existing assets. One asset in particular has set the tone in the context of campus masterplanning: the learning and teaching space.

The focus on maximising existing space combines academia and design in architecture to enable active student-centred learning.

When universities undertake this journey, they don’t only benefit from a cost savings perspective, they also provide students an experiential offering that supports their learning outcomes. When that occurs, the benefits multiply – from stronger reputations institutionally to continued excellence in educational rankings.

However, with demand changing so quickly, how can universities manage competing priorities and align the use of space with student learning outcomes? How can they unlock the value of existing space beyond financial aspirations?

Ahead of Campus Development 2016, we spoke to Khoa Do, Associate Professor – Architecture & Construction Management, Curtin University, who discussed how existing space can be used to accommodate changing pedagogy, improve student learning outcomes, and measure the effectiveness of learning and teaching spaces.

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Listening Diagram for the Curtin General Learning & Teaching Facility, courtesy of Khoa Do & HASSELL

Khoa Do, Associate Professor – Architecture & Construction Management, Curtin University

Adopting an Integrated Design Model (IDM) for space utilisation

My background is in Architecture and the built environment. Having spent a considerable part of my professional career moving between academia and architectural practice, I have developed an interest and expertise in the areas of Architecture of Education and the Pedagogy of Space.

The direct link between pedagogy and space for learning and teaching are intrinsically interconnected and integrated. Good design of learning spaces can positively impact the development of innovative learning and teaching scholarship; good education spaces are transformative environmental conditioning agents for generating innovative learning and teaching practices.

Leading universities are agile and timely in the way they stay abreast of the challenges reshaping the higher education sector. The disruptive environment is been fuelled by a wide range of interconnected factors that include: advancing technologies, preferences for courses catering more towards multi-disciplinary (cheaper, short-intense and high quality), the balancing of face to face versus online delivery, applied research and industry engagements (commercialisation of research) and so on.

Leading universities are responding by putting greater investment in the development of campus spaces aimed at offering more experientially transformative learning environments of both virtual and face to face.

The emphasis for universities is to afford quality learning experiences that go beyond simply the process of acquiring skills and knowledge for the attainment of a degree in the traditional model of learning and teaching.

Staying relevant, ahead of the competition and being at the forefront of what universities do and offer are hallmarks of a progressive and innovative university.

Khoa Do is a featured presenter at the upcoming Campus Development Summit. These insights are part of an exclusive case study on using existing space to accommodate changing pedagogy and support student learning outcomes. He goes on to explore how the Integrated Design Model (IDM) approach investigates design considerations and strategies that enable the explorative process of identifying small scale opportunities across the campus for upgrading, retrofitting and redevelopment.

If you’d like to know more about the Campus Development Summit, download the brochure or visit http://www.campusdevelopment.com.au. Khoa will be joined by more than 20  specialists from across Australia, the UK and Singapore at the Summit. They will share key considerations that you need to make to ensure a pedagogically responsive and innovative campus and facility for 21st century learners.

 

 

How can universities design assessment and credentials to produce work-ready graduates?

Establishing credentials for students has emerged as a critical way to ensure graduates are work-ready once they finish university. But it’s far easier said than done, especially in light of major changes in pedagogy and student expectations.

How can universities align the approach to building credentials with students’ needs and ensuring employability at the same time?

Ahead of Innovation in Assessment & Credentials 2016, James Arvanitakis, Dean, Graduate Research School Western Sydney University, discusses what factors need to be addressed to establish credentials that are effective and have real value in the student experience.

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James Arvanitakis, Dean, Graduate Research School, Western Sydney University

Essentially everything we do should be building up a broad range of employability skills for the students. Universities are really good at producing knowledge and delivering content.

That’s a disciplinary knowledge that we have, and what we need to do is continue doing that to ensure the highest level of scholarship is maintained and attained by the students. That is never negotiable.

But there’s a second dimension, which historically universities haven’t done very well, and that’s related to incorporating a broad range of attributes that students need to develop for proficiencies.

These include learning how to work across cultures, working with teams, knowledge translation, having a sense of agency, and being able to appreciate design and aesthetics, for example.

All of these attributes are important, but it’s the flip side of the coin that universities have struggled with.

And when I developed the Academy program at Western Sydney University, or now that I oversee the Graduate Research School, developing these attributes along with academic excellence are my twin goals.

It goes not only through the curriculum, but through all the investments as well. Within the blended learning environment, it requires very specific strategies in comparison to what you would do face to face, but it doesn’t change the broader philosophy about what you would expect from your students.

For example, with knowledge translation in a blended learning environment, you work with the students to develop public blogs or develop more online resources, and you require your students to work in teams and master online project management software.

The focus should be on assessing how they communicate across those teams, rather than what we usually do, which is what they are doing. You assess the process, not just the outcomes.

James Arvanitakis kindly shared insight into the development of student credentials for the upcoming Innovation in Assessment & Credentials Summit in October. In the article he goes on to explore the approach for building up a broad range of employability skills for students, and incorporating a range of attributes that students need to develop for proficiencies.  Check out the full article to learn more about removing silos and moving towards cross-disciplinary skills.

And if you’d like to know more about the Innovation in Assessment & Credentials Summit, please download the brochure or visit http://www.assessmentandcredentials.com.au.

James will deliver a presentation on educating students in a time of disruption: Becoming innovative and creating an internal shift to drive the future of universities.

 

How Australian universities are implementing innovative blended learning methods to boost student engagement

Advances in technology have enabled students with greater flexibility in how they learn, which has influenced the need for educators to engage students beyond the traditional classroom environment. And in response to major changes in pedagogy, many universities have directed efforts towards implementing blended learning methods to support student outcomes.

But the focus on blended learning is proving to be multifaceted. Improving student engagement is unquestionably vital in the context of learning outcomes; but so too is engagement between educators and learning designers.

Effective blended learning environments can only be achieved when these stakeholders work closely together, and are able to coordinate against a common objective. While it’s far easier said than done, new approaches are being developed to establish a culture around blended learning.

At the same time, capacity building frameworks are emerging as a tool to facilitate experiences like eLearning and mobile learning (mLearning) – this also extends to supporting students in workplace environments (or workplace learning).

And then, of course, there’s measuring student engagement, which is where the ability to scale feedback takes centre stage to improve blended learning methods. Some universities are using dashboards to monitor engagement; while others are experimenting with newer methods to personalise feedback.

Ahead of Blended Learning 2016, several specialists from Deakin University, Monash University, Charles Sturt University and University of Sydney, share exclusive insight into how they are supporting student learning outcomes by creating effective and adaptable blended learning environments.

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Engaging students in enquiry-driven learning at Monash University

Ms Barbara Yazbeck, Research and Learning Skills, Monash University Library

We’ve developed a Blended Learning module for second-year students in the Bachelor of Pharmacy to teach information skills in an Evidence-based Practice.

This represents a key collaboration between the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Monash University Library, recently recognised in a Faculty Teaching Citation and a Vice Chancellor’s Award

The Library has a learning skills program, with learning skill advisors that work with their librarian counterparts and faculty to embed research and learning skills in the curriculum.

And because we take an embedded  approach to skill development, we try to be involved in curriculum as much as possible. In this case, we work with the unit coordinator for Evidence-based Practice.

Two workshops–A and B –are team taught and form a major assessment for this core unit. These workshops are three-hour sessions that require significant resourcing, which can be a challenge, as we’re a small branch here at the Parkville campus.

It’s vital that our teaching is embedded and timetabled into curriculum. In addition, the workshops are team-taught, with a learning skill advisor, a subject librarian, and a faculty instructor involved.

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Monash University campus, courtesy of Barbara Yazbeck

And because we take an embedded approach to skill development, we try to be involved in curriculum as much as possible. In this case, we work with the unit coordinator for Evidence-based Practice.

Two workshops–A and B –are team taught and form a major assessment for this core unit. These workshops are three-hour sessions that require significant resourcing, which can be a challenge, as we’re a small branch here at the Parkville campus.

It’s vital that our teaching is embedded and timetabled into curriculum. In addition, the workshops are team-taught, with a learning skill advisor, a subject librarian, and a faculty instructor involved.

We’ve been involved in this unit for more than five years, culminating in the adoption of a blended learning approach three years ago. This initiative was piloted in 2013, and now exists as an online module that we use in a blended workshop model.

These insights by Ms Barbara Yazbeck are part of an eBook in which four learning design specialists, including Ms Yazbeck, discussed how they are creating blended learning environments to support student learning outcomes in response to major pedagogy changes. 

Read the eBook to learn more about how universities are:

  1. Developing a blended learning module for students to gain skills in an Evidence-based Practice
  2. Establishing a culture of enquiry-based learning and practice for students
  3. Using learning analytics to understand student behaviour and provide more relevant resources
  4. Shifting mindsets and capacity to design clear learning pathways that motivate and assist students to learn
  5. Providing academics with choice in the role they play in the blended learning team, and the extent and pace of change and technology uptake

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blended Learning Summit that will be held in October, download the brochure or visit http://www.blended-learning.com.au.