At the nexus of learning and innovation

Design patterns for team collaboration competences

The aim is to collectively develop a number of educational design patterns. These patterns provide answers to two questions:

  • how to develop collaboration competencies
  • how to assess them for formative purposes, so that students can be provided with feedback.

Communication and collaboration competencies are mentioned prominently amongst the graduate attributes of the University of Sydney. They are also listed as essential skills on job descriptions worldwide. However, how to systematically develop such competencies remains largely unspecified, and how to assess them is a matter of widespread and contentious discussion.

Understanding the flipped classroom with learning analytics

In the last couple decades, one of the most talked about ideas in education has been that of the "flipped classroom"—see for example In a traditional classroom, we receive a lecture on a topic, then get practice in applying the topic for homework. A flipped classroom "flips" this structure. In other words, we watch a video of a lecture at home and then practice and apply the concept in the classroom. The advantage of a video lecture is that one can pause or rewatch sections of a video if one fails to understand, all without time pressure or peer pressure (e.g. not being confident enough to ask a question). The advantage of 'homework' in the classroom is that the teacher can more actively support the students during formative stages of applying a concept and intervene more immediately when needed.

Why learning from teaching works - and when not

Learning by teaching is one of the most prevalent contemporary educational practices, but we still don't understand when it works, and why. 

Learning by teaching is one of the most prevalent contemporary educational practices, including peer-assisted learning (Healey, Flint, & Harrington, 2014; Stoddard, Rieser, Andersson, & Friman, 2012), peer tutoring (King, 1998), problem-based learning (Leary, Walker, Shelton, & Fitt, 2013),  cooperative classrooms (Slavin, 1995), on-line learning (Jopling, 2012), and computer-supported collaborative learning (Dillenbourg, Baker, Blaye, & O'Malley, 1995).  While the practices of peer teaching and tutoring vary widely (Topping, 2005), there is reliable and representative empirical evidence for benefits to both tutees (or pupils), and tutors. For instance, a meta-analysis of 81 peer tutoring studies in elementary school (Rohrbeck, Ginsburg-Block, Fantuzzo, & Miller, 2003) found a positive effect size of 0.33 for peer tutoring compared to control groups. In another widely cited meta-analysis, coving 65 studies, the effect size for pupils (tutees) was 0.4, and the learning gains for tutors was 0.38 (Cohen, Kulik, & Kulik, 1982). A more recent review (Roscoe & Chi, 2007) estimates the average tutor effect size to be around 0.35, combining tutor and pupil learning.

Learning as the process of becoming: Implications for educational design practice

Education in its broader sense is the process of becoming and identity formation. Developing a professional identity, as an engineer, teacher, or medical practitioner, lies at the core of higher education practice. However, previous research illustrates a lack of an integrated framework that conceptualizes the process to explain how learners practice professional identities and what are the relations between educational design and such practices.

Making sense of Learning Analytics in English as a Second Language

Here is a short offering on my endeavours in the recent past...PhD wise that is.

Under the supervision of Prof. Peter Reimann, my research is investigating current practices and sense making of student data presented as Learning Analytics Visualisations (LAV) in the teaching of English as a Second Language (ESL). Existing knowledge of data use in this context will be advanced by examining and tracking teacher learning. This will be achieved by observing teachers’ ability to interpret, engage with and make sense of student data via the concept of expansive learning trajectories (Barab, Hay & Yamagata-Lynch, 1999; Cobb, 1996) in correlation with descriptive frameworks measuring the interplay of ESL pedagogy, technology, and the sense making process.

Widely discussed in the literature is the current and potential influence of digital technology in mainstream education. Opportunities now exist to enhance the teaching and learning experience through an expansive data trail generated by digital device users. In language instruction, the development of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) as a field of research is indicative of this. At an institutional level, the collection and analysis of data is referred to as Academic Analytics, and through learning and teaching spaces, Learning Analytics.