Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Externalisation of pedagogic principles

“The first step in redesign often entailed the externalisation of pedagogic principles which had previously been tacit."
This quote is from report on the PREEL (From Pedagogical Research to Embedded E-learning) project which ran at the Institute of Education a few years ago. It was one of those initiative which tried to help educators with their e-learning design. Interestingly, there were deliberate attempts to link research and practice through the promotion and incorporation of IOE's own e-learning research output.  This post and the above quote is about educator knowledge of their own pedagogy, the way they teach.

The quote promotes the tactic of asking educators to verbalise how they are teaching a particular course.  In articulating this out loud it helps clarify for themselves how they teach.  We are not talking learning theory here just how they do things.  For some how a session is structured and taught may have evolved over the years.  A particular educator may have a natural default pedagogical stance and the reasons why are not clear even to themselves.

I've talked in the past about how some educators don't have an understanding of their own pedagogy stance or indeed an understanding of pedagogical theory in general.  I've speculated that this hinders moves to talk about internet-based communication/collaboration tools in terms of pedagogical affordance.  The above tactic is instructive because it suggests that this doesn't really matter as the knowledge is there albeit latent and not externalised.  It's your job (as a learning technologist) to bring this out of them.  They know how they teach and why they do it.  And you don't need to be judgmentally about this, you just need to listen and teach them how, and to what end, they could use what's available.  What this also says is that it's not about lack of understanding, it's about lack of time and sometimes about lack of learning design.  For the former, an educator doesn't have the time to think about their learning design.  They are too busy. For the latter, they can't be bothered.  This is rare but there's good and bad in every profession.

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