Summary of activities
Collaborative planning activity
In this session, Mick handed over the stick and asked ‘what’s next?’ Over the past few weeks Mick led the sessions in order to get the design process underway. Now it was the group’s turn to take the project forward. This is what we decided to work on:
Maboobeh interviewed and filmed everyone individually as part of the project evaluation;
Tommy led a feedback session on the designs that he had created for the website;
Phil instigated some sharing of ideas regarding ice breakers and energisers;
Mick encouraged the group to return making a decision on the categorisation of learning resources by educational type and resource type and
Hils led a discussion on how we learn and asked the group to re-visit the evaluation questions.
Session 4 really highlighted the different contributions that individuals bring to the process. The project is now at a stage where it feels more collaborative with individuals taking responsibility for moving different aspects of the project forward. Interestingly, when group members were asked how they felt this session had gone, they said they weren’t really sure what was going on and what they were meant to be doing. Mick described it as “a bit chaotic”. These responses raise some interesting points about the collaborative design process and how innovation emerges. When Mick had a plan and predominantly led the sessions, people seemed to feel more comfortable because they were able to look to him for guidance. Without this leadership, a sense of discomfort and anxiety arose. For Buur and Larson (2010) these feelings are important for encouraging collaboration and innovation and for moving the co-design process forward. They argue that the ‘quality of coversations’ in the co-design process, those underpinned by spontaneity as well as tension and conflict help to fuel collaboration and enable new ideas to emerge: “Some may feel anxious about the direction the conversation is taking, but anxiety and change are closely interlinked” (Buur and Larsen 2010:130).
The use and promotion of OER breaks down the traditional teacher -student relationship so that in theory they can enter into a non-hierarchical, collaborative learning relationship. The path to achieving this however is likely to be challenging as it requires individuals to fundamentally re-consider how they learn and who they look to for guidance in learning environments.
Evaluation: Fostering a sense of ownership
At the end of the session, as part of the evaluation, we discussed we how could foster ownership of the tool amongst students on the next Do IT course. It was agreed that the best way to do this is to integrate the tool into the course from the very beginning so that students see its adoption and use as a requirement of the course. Sara suggested that all the lesson plans, exercises, activities and tutorials could be uploaded onto the repository from the beginning of the course and that learner feedback and an evaluation of the tool could also be obtained in order to feed into phase two of the design.
Mick pointed out that encouraging learners on the Do IT course to share and upload resources is also an important way to foster peer learning. He underlined the importance of recognising the different skills and expertise that learners bring to the course and of encouraging them to share ideas and resources with each other. This contributes to the development of a learning community. Acknowledging the existing skills and experience of learners is critical for their participation and engagement. As Mick admitted: “ When I’m on a course, If I don’t get a chance to share, I can get a little bit hostile inside”
In essence the co-design process will continue to develop as learners from Do IT begin to use the tool and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.
Barriers to Participation: Confusion!
The group highlighted that they often feel confused and that the whole process requires a lot of thinking in areas that they are not familiar with. As Sara said:
“I’m not actually used to be being so actively involved… so it becomes a bit if a headache. Not in a bad way… I never realised how much there is to think about when you’re designing something. Partly you just want someone to say…we’ll do it this way… it feels a bit unnatural. When I’m using a website I’m use to being fed this menu or that. It takes a bit of acclimatising to the process”
Phil summed the whole process up as “brain burning”. “There’s 3 things we’re thinking about: how do I teach? How will this change the way I teach in the future and how does this contribute to the website? Three things at once is tricky”
Despite these challenges, there was a feeling from the group that we were making progress and that feeling stuck is part of the learning process. The group also agreed that they were developing new skills and ideas with regards to their own training and facilitation practice and that this could feed directly into the learning process with the possibility of creating learning designs that could be developed in phase two.
Audio recordings of video interviews
Audio recordings of afternoon sessions