The Kaleidoscope of Voices: An Action Research Approach to Informing Institutional e-Learning Policy

Authors: Roushan, G., Holley, D. and Biggins, D.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/24920/

http://www.ejel.org/main.html

Journal: Electronic Journal of e-Learning

Volume: 14

Issue: 5

Pages: 293-300

Publisher: Academic Conferences and Publishing International (ACPI)

eISSN: 1479-4403

ISSN: 1479-4403

The EU policy framework (EU, 2020) is designed to encourage and support digital competency, offering this as a solution in addressing the huge gap in digital skills. Digital competence and capability are an essential for enhancing immediate and enabling life-long learning (EC DIGICOMP, 2013). Measuring Digital Skills across the EU (2014) estimated 39% of the workforce had insufficient digital skills, while 64% of those in disadvantaged groups have insufficient digital skills for the workspace. This policy agenda is reflected in UK Government policy documents, the House of Lords (2015) reports that 2.2 million people can be categorised as ‘digital muggles‘. Yet Labour force studies (UKCES, 2015) indicate 300,000 recruits are needed to invent and apply new technologies. This reflects earlier work by Frey and Osborne (2013) whose model shows that as technology adaptation and use speeds up, low-skill workers will be replaced. The challenge for Higher Educational Institutions is how best to embed these skills, and enable and facilitate institutional change? Heppell (2016) states: ‘the use of digital technology in education is not optional’. This paper draws from the experience of a single university and evaluates their approach to managing change. Our methodology is located within an action research framework (Norton, 2009). Informed in conjunction with a ‘Panel of Experts’, thought-leaders drawn from industry and academia, and incorporating a strong student voice, we believe this approach is relevant for complex and policy based studies, as the framework can encompass a mixed methods technique (Johnson and Onwuegbuzie, 2004). Findings indicate that strong research and technological leadership, building internal alliances with key stakeholders, focusing on the ‘middle out’ (Bryant, 2016a) and a partnership approach to working with the Students Union all contribute to a transformational and shared approach to institution-wide change at a time of complexity and contestation in Higher Education policy.

Authors: Roushan, G., Holley, D. and Biggins, D.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/24920/

http://www.ejel.org/call.html

Publisher: The Electronic Journal of e-Learning

ABSTRACT The EU policy framework (EU, 2020) is designed to encourage and support digital competency and offers this as a solution in addressing the huge gap in digital skills. Digital competence and capability are seen as an essential for enhancing immediate and enabling life-long learning (EC DIGICOMP, 2013). Measuring Digital Skills across the EU study (2014) estimated 39% of the workforce had insufficient digital skills, while 64% of those in disadvantaged groups have insufficient digital skills for the workspace. This policy agenda is reflected in recent UK Government policy documents on the new skills needed to be fostered in the UK. The House of Lords (2015) reports that 2.2 million people can be categorised as ‘digital muggles‘. Yet Labour force studies (UKCES, 2015) indicate 300,000 recruits are needed to invent and apply new technologies. This reflects earlier work by Frey and Osborne (2013) whose model shows that as technology adaptation and use speeds up, low-skill workers will be replaced. Similarly, Heppell argues that ‘the use of digital technology in education is not optional’ (Heppell, 2014).

The challenge for Higher Educational Institutions is how best to embed these skills, and enable and facilitate institutional change? This paper draws from the experience of a single university and examines and evaluates their approach to managing change. Our methodology is located within an action research framework (Norton, 2009). Informed in conjunction with a ‘Panel of Experts’, thought-leaders drawn from industry and academia, and incorporating a strong student voice, we believe this approach is relevant for complex and policy based studies, as the framework can encompass a mixed methods techniques (Johnson et al., 2004). This theme is addressed more broadly by Denzin’s (2008) analysis of the politics of evidence, in which it is shown that by Governments’ and other powerful institutions’ insistence on methods and methodologies of quantitative inquiry that, “a narrowly restricted view of what counts as knowledge is imposed on research” (Satterthwaite in Denzin, 2008:ix). Satterthwaite argues that locating this work within the scope of a deliberate, solution-orientated investigation, as advocated by Kemmis et al., (2004), which is characterised by spiralling cycles of problem identification, systematic data collection, analysis and reflection, data-driven action and problem redefinition that the work can be recognised as theory based, relevant and improving practice (Holley and Boyle, 2012).

Therefore, the development of policy within its context recognises that knowledge is socially developed, as suggested by McNiff (2013). Thus, our analysis contrasts two distinct approaches; the initial efforts of a traditional ‘top down approach’ informing our e-learning efforts, consisting of a set of propositions round ‘use of tools, leverage of the Virtual Learning Environment and a ‘e-learning champions’ approach to diffusion throughout the institution. The second cycle is the transformative change offered by Bournemouth University’s FUSION of research, education and professional practice (BU 2018), where the institution uses a discourse founded on innovation and partnership with students to meet their digital literacies expectations and needs. Accordingly, a shift change in thinking and approaches to strategy occurred, enabling a broader and partner action research approach, informed by sector and stakeholder voices. As McDougall et al., (2016) argue, ‘one significant impact of new technologies in education has been to give teachers and learners a voice through the many “bottom up” channels. This kaleidoscope of voices offers myriad lenses by which to view the development of an innovation driven, a ‘middle out’, approach to technological advancement (Bryant, 2016).

The focus of Fusion on education and professional practice led to the development of the Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL) aligning TEL and employability; and the development of the ‘Technological toolkit’, (TEL Toolkit, 2016) acting as the catalyst for developing a different type of institutional change (Betham, 2015).

The full paper will explore in further detail the context of research; review and analyse the action research cycles; evaluate the impact of the ‘kaleidoscope of voices’; and make methodological, policy and practice based conclusions enabling others to draw upon the methods in informing their own institutional policies.

References Beetham, H., (2015). Revisiting digital capability for 2015. [online], http://digitalcapability.JISCinvolve.org/wp/2015/06/11/revisiting-digital-capability-for-2015/ [Accessed, 27.04.2016].

BU2018., (2013). Bournemouth University Vision and Values. [online], https://2018.bournemouth.ac.uk/fusion/ [Accessed, 20.04.2016].

Bryant, P., (2016). From the Middle Out – making pedagogical change happen in a complex, messy world. [online] http://peterbryant.smegradio.com/?p=600 [Accessed, 26.04.2016].

Denzin, N.K., (2008). The Elephant in the Living Room: or extending the conversation about the politics of evidence, in Satterthwaite, J., Watts, M. and Piper, H., (eds). Talking Truth, Confronting Power. Trentham Books. UK, pp. 1-15.

European Commission., (2014). Measuring Digital Skills across the EU: EU wide indicators of Digital Competence. [online], http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?doc_id=5406 [Accessed, 25.04.2016].

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European Commission., (2015). Education 2030: Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. [online], https://ec.europa.eu/epale/en/resource-centre/content/education-2030-incheon-declaration-and-framework-action-towards-inclusive-0 [Accessed, 28.04.2016].

Frey, C.B. and Osborne, M.A., (2013). The Future of Employment. [online], http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf [Accessed, 31.03.2016].

Heppell, S., (2016). Education Technology Action Group. [online], http://www.heppell.net/etag/media/ETAG_reflections.pdf [Accessed, 28.04.2016].

Holley, D. and Boyle, T., (2012). Empowering teachers to author multimedia learning resources that support students’ critical thinking. European Journal of Open and Distance Learning. [online], http://www.eurodl.org/materials/contrib/2012/Holley_Boyle.pdf [Accessed, 28.04.2016].

House of Lords., (2015). Make or Break: Britain’s Digital Future. [online], http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/digital-skills-committee/news/report-published/ [Accessed on 28.04.2016].

Johnson, R.B. and Onwuegbuzie, A.J., 2004. Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come. Educational researcher, 33(7), pp.14-26.

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R. and Retallick, J., (2004). The Action Research Planner. (2nd ed. rev.). Springer. Australia, pp.61-68.

McDougall, J. Readman, M. and Wilkinson, P., (2016). From Digital Literacy to Capability [online], http://www.cemp.ac.uk [Accessed 28.04.2016].

McNiff, J., (2013). Action research: Principles and practice. Routledge, UK. pp.22-24.

Norton, L.S., (2009). Action Research in Teaching and Learning. Routledge. UK. pp. 2-7.

The TEL Toolkit., (2016). [online], https://www1.bournemouth.ac.uk/about/centre-excellence-learning/tel-toolkit [Accessed, 20.04.2016].

UKCES., (2014). The Labour Market Story. UK Commission for Employment and Skills. [online], https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/344441/The_Labour_Market_Story-_Skills_for_the_Future.pdf [Accessed 28.0

This data was imported from Scopus:

Authors: Roushan, G., Holley, D. and Biggins, D.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/24920/

Journal: Electronic Journal of e-Learning

Volume: 14

Issue: 5

Pages: 293-300

eISSN: 1479-4403

© ACPIL. This paper describes a two-spiral action research approach (AR) in its analysis of the experience of a British University endeavouring to change and reposition itself in the context of fast pace external change in terms of innovation. Taking the European Union (EU) 2020 digital competence framework (Ferrari 2013), with its drive to address the huge EU digital skills gap as technological adaptation and use speed up and the call from the UK Government, employers, and students themselves to produce digitally competent graduates Higher Institutions need to consider their proposition. An action research approach, with its reflective stance, is relevant for complex and policy based studies, we argue, as the framework can encompass mixed methods techniques. Informed in conjunction with a ‘Panel of Experts’, thought-leaders drawn from industry and academia, and incorporating a strong student voice, we believe the AR approach is key to offering insights and transparency in the quest for change. The transition from an initial top-down management approach to a kaleidoscopic middle-out partnership of the executive team with key internal stakeholders, including students, academic staff, librarians, learning technologists and IT specialists offers a new and inclusive approach offering the agility and the synergy that traditional models lack. Results indicate that strong research and technological leadership, building internal alliances with key stakeholders, focusing on the ‘middle out’ and a partnership approach to working with the Students Union all contribute to a transformational and shared approach to institution-wide change at a time of complexity and contestation in Higher Education policy.

This source preferred by Debbie Holley, David Biggins and Gelareh Roushan

This data was imported from Web of Science (Lite):

Authors: Roushan, G., Holley, D. and Biggins, D.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/24920/

Journal: ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF E-LEARNING

Volume: 14

Issue: 5

Pages: 293-300

ISSN: 1479-4403

The data on this page was last updated at 04:43 on November 23, 2017.