At the nexus of learning and innovation

Design patterns as knowledge artefacts

Communication and collaboration competences 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 competences remains largely unspecified, and how to assess them is a matter of widespread and contentious discussion.

Instead of providing ready-made solutions that can be too generic to be directly applied to discipline-specific teaching, we aim to collectively develop a number of educational design patterns. These patterns will provide answers to two guiding questions:

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

As first suggested in architecture (Alexander, 1979), a pattern describes an effective solution to a recurrent problem embedded in a specific context. In education, where solutions take the form of learning designs, we speak of pedagogical design patterns and of assessment design patterns.

With this project, we propose to demonstrate that design patterns are a useful basis for initiating and sustaining a process of continuous improvement and innovation, as well an appropriate means for documenting current teaching and assessment practices.

Patterns are descriptive and have the potential to guide knowledgeable action but in order to achieve these aims they need to be developed in a participatory manner involving all stakeholders. Capturing the multiple areas of expertise available from groups of learners can lead to the development of new practices. Using an online platform (kCoLab) patterns can be made available for further refinement. 

Online: Feel free to add you own patterns! We will inform you about where they are accessible. 

This study is led by Peter Reimann. Data was analysed in collaboration with Patrick Oliver, Newcastle University, UK.

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