Barb and Kirsten have been friends since joining Monash University’s Office of Learning and Teaching (formerly Office of the Vice-Provost Learning and Teaching) in 2014. As part of a team of recently appointed educational designers, they set about creating just-in-time resources for teachers (BYTES) that would assist them in building knowledge and skills for applying active learning in the student-centred education landscape that lessens the reliance on didactic teaching.
Unit Enhancement began in earnest at Monash University as part of the bigger picture of improving learning and teaching. The message was simple and to the point. Scaffold learning through the introduction of pre- and post-class activities, active learning in the face-to-face time, constructive alignment, and formative assessment. This effective framework includes guidelines and resources to support the development of learning materials and activities for both face-to-face and online modes that effectively blur the line between the modes to create an enhanced learning experience.
After moving into faculties, both Barb and Kirsten have developed blended learning approaches that have clearly articulated learning pathways that scaffold the students as they build cognitive frameworks to support the construction of learning. Together with a science educator, Barb published a study on the blended learning approach in one science unit.
Our role in the faculties has been critical to a change in teaching approaches and adoption of active learning pedagogy. Previously, lectures have been very content heavy, with lecturers relying on students doing the pre-reading. This has been a model of teaching in universities for generations but it does not actually facilitate learning in that valuable face to face time. Instead, lecturers found themselves going back over content that students could have / should have engaged with through reading. Students came to lectures unprepared and thereby not cognitively ready to process the new information or concepts.
By supporting teachers through a changing paradigm from didactic to flipped and active learning, we have enabled an environment of rich learning experiences for both the educator and the student.
In our workshop at FlipCon 2018 in Melbourne, we will give you the framework and strategies to help you develop your own active learning pedagogy. This will free you from a didactic approach and give you more time to scaffold your students through learning materials and assessments that are complex and require the development of higher order thinking skills.
Gleadow R, Macfarlan B and Honeydew M. Design for learning – a case study of blended learning in a science unit [version 2; referees: 2 approved]. F1000Research 2015, 4:898