Capturing learning: beyond the acquisition metaphor

A teaching and learning conversation with:

 paul_orsmond Paul Orsmond 

Senior lecturer in the School of Life Sciences and Education at Staffordshire University

 rachel_forsyth Rachel Forsyth

Associate Head of CELT, Manchester Metropolitan, University

About this conversation:

This conversation is intended to provoke discussion about the role of assessment in higher education. A common model of higher education characterises the role of the teacher as delivering the curriculum to support achievement of learning outcomes; this tends to place primary, value on what is taught in the identified curriculum, with a much lesser value for what students learn outside this. The focus is on ‘getting a qualification’, and the teacher’s role is to help students to do this. Hence learning is seen as an individual event, using an acquisition metaphor to show how  value has been added the students’ knowledge and capabilities. Participation may be covered by the occasional group project, possibly added into the curriculum in a slightly clumsy way, to tick the outcome of ‘work in teams’.  Here learning gain is seen as an accumulation of acquired knowledge. Another model sees an undergraduate programme of study as bringing about a change in identity and providing the student with the ability to integrate into one or more communities of practice, which were inaccessible to the student before beginning the course. Here  the emphasis to be placed on learning through the participation – thus knowledge is not just something the student possesses but something a student does. Here learning gain is seen more in terms of students moving from being legitimate peripheral participants towards becoming more full members of a community of practice.

Current models of assessment in UK HE tend to favour the first of these models, but in so doing may only assess a tiny portion of all that students learn at university. This conversation hopes to more fully explore the learning that occurs in university through student identity development.

About Paul and Rachel:

Paul is a senior lecturer in the School of Life Sciences and Education at Staffordshire University.  As an educator in biosciences he has explored student learning and how it is linked to assessment and feedback.  In particular he has been interested in communities of learning that students develop and the social interaction that they undertake outside the overt curriculum while carrying out self- and peer-assessment practices in order to make sense of their learning experiences.

Rachel works in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University.  She is particularly interested in quality assurance, curriculum management and assessment in higher education.

When: Monday 6th March 2017 12:30-13:30 (UK Time)

Joining the conversation:

Simply follow this link and enter as a guest by typing your name, institution and country into the name field and clicking on the “Join Meeting” button.

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This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Rod Cullen. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rod Cullen

I am a Senior Lecturer in Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Learning Innovation Team at Manchester Metropolitan University. I have gained considerable experience over almost 20 years in design, delivery and evaluation of online learning, teaching and assessment. I am particularly interested in assessment and feedback practice as well as the emerging role of web conferencing technologies to support blended and distance learning.

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