Tag Archives: blended learning

Engaging practice-based learners

Aileen Watson, Andrew Fowler & Jacky Burrows

Parallel session 2, Short paper 2.8

Short Abstract
This session will consider the design and delivery of an academic module studied by volunteers working for Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability. Our aim is to explore the use of blended learning in engaging practice-based students utilising our own experience and student feedback.

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Detailed Outline
This paper will explore the challenges of engaging practice-based learners in a blended learning experience, with specific reference to a joint project between Sheffield Hallam’s Department of Law and Criminology and Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability (YHCOSA). This project involved a group of YHCOSA volunteers engaging in a standalone academic module entitled ‘Working with Sex Offenders’, which aimed to improve their volunteering through integrating theory and practice. Students completed the course by engaging in one face to face session and twelve online lectures delivered by Sheffield Hallam, and four face to face sessions delivered by YHCOSA. The project had a number of specific challenges including the wide geographic distribution of students, the range of their previous academic experience, and the challenging nature of the subject material and volunteers’ specific roles; however the paper will also address broader issues relevant to blended learning including establishing course identity, sustaining motivation, and maximising potential. It will therefore consider the specific learning needs of practice-based adult learners and maximising the effectiveness of the blended/hybrid of model of face to face teaching and technology-facilitated learning for them, as well as ways of increasing motivation and student satisfaction such as formal and informal reward and recognition and ensuring adequate support (see for example, Ausburn, 2011).

The blended learning approach can be regarded as both a practical solution to the learning needs of geographically diverse, practice-based learners and a theoretically sound mode of engaging adult learners, especially those learning for practical application. The authors take the view that the project’s blended learning approach fits well with Knowles’ model of androgogy (see for example Atherton, 2013) and in particular allows students to learn in a constructivist manner, thus facilitating deep learning (e.g. Sharpe, Benfield, Roberts, and Francis, 2006). The paper will therefore consider blended-learning through those lenses.
The paper will conclude with ideas for future directions including the role of evaluation for transformative practice and the increasing focus on blended learning as part of the wider agenda of ‘flexible learning’ (HEA, 2015)
References
ATHERTON, J. S. (2013). Learning and Teaching; Knowles’ andragogy: an angle on adult learning [onlline] Last updates 10 February 2013 http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/knowlesa.htm
AUSBURN, L. J. (2011). Course design elements most valued by adult learners in blended online education environments: an American perspective. Educational Media International, 41, 327-337
HEA (2015). Flexible Learning [online]. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/workstreams-research/themes/flexible-learning
SHARPE, R. BENFIELD,G,. ROBERTS, G., and FRANCIS, R.(2006). The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice.

269 – Does e-learning and mobile technology have a place within HE Learning, Teaching and Assessment? – Jo Marsden

Strand: The technology enhanced course Anticipated outcomes:• Discuss the viability & usefulness of iPads within LTA Session outline (or abstract): max 300 words Technology has brought about irreversible change to the world (Su 2009) and educators have had to acknowledge the reality of technologically-induced change and it’s constantly evolving pace.  This extreme growth in the capabilities of technology, especially mobile technology, alongside increasing affordability has led to the acknowledgement of a ubiquitous learning tool within higher education (Pollaro and Broussard 2011).   As non-traditional methods of education become more established and as a factor of that informal and flexible learning environments become necessary for students in an ever-connected society, e-learning will play a significant role (Fetaji 2008). Within this example e-learning has been utilised as a tool for:• student engagement• student learning• a teaching aid• assessment support This has been through the use of:• iPads• screencasting• online feedback• Google Docs• Google Forms   The views of the students, teaching staff and support staff have been collected on the use of these tools within different settings.   The outcomes from the students were positive in the use of different learning environments and technologies and assisted in student engagement, however there were questions raised over the impact on student learning.   The use of iPads for the purpose of assessment support assisted in achieving the new assessment regulations of a 3-week turnaround and in facilitating online student feedback, which was also favourably received.    The examples incorporated a blended approach to teaching and learning for isolated modules within the Department of Sport.   As technology usage within Higher Education becomes more prevalent and staff become more aware of the options, and also the ways in which to combine technology into the classroom, the real focus needs to shift to the course design and the integration of technology within this.

172 – What is is that makes today’s student induction so different so appealing? – Hilary Cunliffe-Charlesworth, Christopher Hall, Keith Radley

Using social media to support arrival and integration into Higher Education could be innovative or pointless, but as part of a blended experience there are some useful ideas. This poster describes the use of mobile phones and ipads in experiencing the use of geo-social networking. It demonstrates how students are introduced to each other and the university environment and processes. The poster reflects on what makes the transition into university a positive experience and how students can successfully integrate into the new cohort or join an existing group.

172 JustWhatisitthat