Negotiating the triple helix: Harnessing technology for transformation
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Authors: Hutchings, M., Quinney, A. and Galvin, K.
Journal: Proceedings of the International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL
Universities are embracing digital technologies to enhance learning and teaching while endeavouring to maximise the student experience, minimise risks, and manage complex, sometimes competing and contradictory agendas. Government policies are focused on placing students at the heart of the process, but with the propensity for student identities to shift from partners in learning to consumers of education. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are grappling with the potential of technology-enabled solutions to enhance education provision in cost-effective ways without placing the student experience at risk. These pressures impact on academics and educational institutions requiring responses to the pace of change, role transitions, and pedagogical imperatives for student-centred learning. The paper explores strategies for effective change management which acknowledge but minimise risks in technology-enabled approaches for transformative learning. The analysis is informed by the development of a collaborative lifeworld-led, transprofessional curriculum for health and social work disciplines, which harnesses technology to connect learners to humanising practices and evidence based approaches. Rich data from student questionnaires and staff focus groups is drawn on to highlight individual and organisational benefits and barriers, including cultural resistance recognised in staff scepticism and uncertainty, and organisational resistance, recognised in lack of timely and responsive provision of technical infrastructure and support. Intersections between research orientations, education strategies and technology affordances will be explored as triggers for transformation in a 'triple helix' model of change, through examining their capacity for initiating 'optimum disruption' to facilitate student-centred learning, role transitions, and organisational change. We share the findings of 'our story' of change to harness the positive utility of these triggers for transformation through deploying strategies for negotiating complexity, including the requirement for a shared vision, a robust team approach, the need for ongoing horizon scanning and application of soft skills (e.g. active listening, timely communication) necessary in order to build student confidence, academic partnerships, and facilitate organisational dexterity in the face of barriers to change.