22 SES 16 C, Reflection and Mobility of knowledge
In a rapidly changing and risky world, and through the availability of new information and communication technologies (ICT), education becomes less about conveying knowledge and more about enabling students to develop their own competences for navigating this world (e.g. Schwendimann, Kappeler, Mauroux, & Gurtner, 2018). This certainly holds true for all phases of the educational process; in higher education, however, the development of these competences has a certain urge: higher education prepares students for a professional career, in which they will need to navigate challenges and balance dilemmas based on the (reflective) competences they have developed in particular during their tertiary education. As for that, higher education plays a crucial role in facilitating students to become educated professionals, including being competent in dealing with problem-, information- and conflict management (Griffioen & de Jong, 2014).
The facilitation and development of such – new – competences requires rethinking the instructional formats used for that. The use of digital tools and arrangements comes in here, naturally, because such tools are a) a part of students’ and teachers’ everyday life and b) provide possibilities to flexibly enrich facilitation processes (Bower, 2017). However, digital tools per se are not the answer for this challenge. They need to be used in a way that enables meaningful interactions and adapt to students’ development over time. Iterating this developmental process between design and development may provide a fruitful approach (Järvinen, 2007).
Highly unnoticed, however, is the fact that not only students, but also facilitators/teachers need to understand the affordances of those tools in order to interact iteratively with students’ learning products (Yancey 2009). This is so because when students complete tasks that yield new information, facilitators/teachers need to know how to infuse this into ongoing teaching and what impulses this could provide in the next step of the iteration process. With that, instances of ‘micro action research cycles’ are taking place on the facilitators’ sides, where iterations by students are complemented with iterations on the research and intervention design. This triggers a “dialectic action research spiral” (Mills, 2011, p. 20), which supports co-creative process between students and facilitators/teachers. We call this an Iterative Practice Approach (IPA).
The advantages of IPA are obvious: adaptive and iterative procedures allow to address learning processes in a dynamic and individual form, which support acts of meaning making and identity construction (Schwonke et al. 2005). Also, they allow to accommodate students’ individual needs and trajectories (Kolmos, Fink & Krogh 2004). However, although substantiated by arguments, empirical evidence is needed on the forms, quality and processes that can – or cannot – take place when facilitating students’ reflections iteratively. The resulting research question therefore is: How can such a co-creative pedagogy be developed through iterative processes utilizing ICTs? To answer this question, in the following we will present findings from an on-going research project on the use of digital tools for reflective competence development, which takes place at a major Danish university.
The PBL Future initiative at Aalborg University (AAU) is a research project which aims to capture the current status of Problem-based Learning (PBL) across this institution, as well as promoting research-based developments of the existing PBL model. In sub-project 3 students' reflections on their competencies, including their PBL competencies are studies, as well as how digital tools can help them, and prepare them for their future work life. In this presentation we are focusing on an activity that involved a focus group of 11 students from five academic programs (namely Health Sciences and Technologies, Organizational Learning, Organization and Strategy, Nanotechnology and Techno-Anthropology). As part of the activities to reflect on their developing competencies in their respective fields of study, students were invited to explore and try out different digital tools such as websites, Sensory Postcards, Pecha Kucha, cartoons, the online-platform SLACK and other applications for one semester. Students received instructions from the research team to provide feedback and encourage them to reflect, document, and communicate their development of professional competences and skills. A specific focus was on the students’ presentation and communication skills so they could express their competencies also to external audiences, especially future employers. Using digitally documented reflections in this sense, i. e. as tools for professional identity development and skill documentation, puts a focus on students iterating and refining their products (e. g. Yancey 2009). Throughout this process students cumulatively produced digital or in some cases digitalized products that were analyzed based on to what degree they represented communicable e-portfolios (e. g. Cambridge, Cambridge, & Yancey, 2009; Eynon & Gambino, 2017; Garis & Dalton, 2007). The actual analysis of this process was performed using Activity Theory (Kaptelinin & Nardi 2006) as a theoretical framework. Interactive and iterative processes were reconstructed with a focus on students’ individual development paths and their representation of their professional selves and competences. Also, the triangulation between the students, the researchers and their technology use was analysed, shedding light on the complex and sometimes contradictory realities of students’ technologically produced expressions.
Although the project is on-going, first analyses show that the form, quality and process-dimensions of students’ reflections vary widely. This is partly based on external conditions such as study motivation, identity construction before and whilst studying, study conditions etc., which then interact with the ways students’ use technology, engage with the facilitators and their products. A preliminary finding is a call for an in-depth assessment of individual pathways and styles when engaging students in technology-use for competence reflection. This can add to the discussion of why technology-use is still ambivalent in higher education, both on students’ and on teachers’/facilitators’ sides (Scholkmann, 2017), and form a basis for recommendations to actively imbed individualised and iterative process facilitations into the pedagogical repertoire of technology supported higher education courses.
Bower, M. (2017). Design of Technology-enhanced Learning: Integrating Research and Practice. Emerald Group Pub Ltd. Cambridge, D., Cambridge, B. L., & Yancey, K. B. (Eds.). (2009). Electronic portfolios 2.0: emergent research on implementation and impact (1st ed). Sterling, Va: Stylus. Driessen, E., Tartwijk, van, van der Vleuten, C., & Wass, V. (2007). Portfolios in medical education: why do they meet with mixed success? A systematic review. Medical Education, 41, 1224–1233. Griffioen, D. M., & de Jong, U. (2014). Implementing research in professional higher education: Factors that influence lecturers’ perceptions. Educational Management Administration & Leadership. https://doi.org/10.1177/1741143214523008 Eynon, B., & Gambino, L. M. (2017). High-impact ePortfolio practice: a catalyst for student, faculty, and institutional learning. Garis, J. W., & Dalton, J. C. (2007). E-portfolios: emerging opportunities for student affairs (Vol. 119). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Järvinen, P. (2007). Action Research is Similar to Design Science. Quality & Quantity, 41(1), 37–54. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11135-005-5427-1 Kolmos, A., Fink, F. K., & Krogh, L.. (2004). The Aalborg PBL model -- progress, diversity and challenges. Aalborg: Aalborg University Press. Kaptelinin, V., & Nardi, B. A. (2006). Acting with technology: Activity theory and interaction design. MIT Press. Mills, G. E. (2011). Action research: a guide for the teacher researcher (4th ed). Boston: Pearson. Iterative. (2010). In A. Mills, G. Durepos, & E. Wiebe, Encyclopedia of Case Study Research. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks California 91320 United States: SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412957397.n185 Scholkmann, A. (2017). “What I learn is what I like.” How do students in ICT-supported problem-based learning rate the quality of the learning experience, and how does it relate to the acquisition of competences? Education and Information Technologies, 22(6), 2857–2870. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-017-9629-7 Schwendimann, B. A., Kappeler, G., Mauroux, L., & Gurtner, J.-L. (2018). What makes an online learning journal powerful for VET? Distinguishing productive usage patterns and effective learning strategies. Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40461-018-0070-y Schwonke, R., Nückles, M., Hauser, S., Berthold, K., & Renkl, A. (2005). Computergestütztes Schreiben von Lernprotokollen. Umsetzung und Evaluation eines kognitiven Werkzeugs zur Förderung selbstgesteuerten Lernens. Zeitschrift Für Medienpsychologie, 17(2), 42–53. Yancey, K. B. (2009). Reflection and electronic portfolios. Inventing the Self and Reinventing the University. In D. Cambridge, B. L. Cambridge, & K. B. Yancey (Eds.), Electronic Portfolios 2.0. Emergent Research on Implementation and Impact (pp. 5–16). Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing.
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