Rationale for these pages
The aim of these pages is to outline key theories and theorists connected to my research and daily work around digital shifts in UK HE teaching and learning. The notes are prompts for my own use, but are shared should they be of help to anyone else coming to these theories for the first time and maybe also as triggers for conversations. These are my reflections, may lack full citations and constitute my own views rather than those of any team or institution I’m associated with.
- Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger)
- Communities of Inquiry (Garrison and Anderson)
- Situated Learning
- Constructive Alignment (Biggs)
- Conversational Framework (Laurillard)
Relevance of chosen theorists and theories to my research
Practically I’m investigating adoption and resistance of digital shifts in teaching and learning practices in UK HE using three perspectives; institutional, pedagogic and individual. I explore the drivers for HE embedding Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), the associated changes in pedagogic practice as staff shift from face-to-face to blended design and delivery, and the development of individual digital literacies which I present as socially situated practices rather then traditional skills based competencies. My participant sample are staff with a shared and consistent experience of enrollment on the Teaching and Learning in a Digital Age (TELEDA) courses. This was to dilute and reduce the known diversity of digital ways of working. The rationale for my research includes diverse levels of TEL adoption alongside a lack of literature on the attitudes and practices of staff who teach and support learning towards digital shifts in attitudes and behaviours. Research outputs will include a continuum model of designs for blended learning, a digital shifts manifesto and a model of digital literacies as socially situated practice.
Theoretically I’m looking at the processes of change using Structure/Agency to describe the contentious relationship between individuals and society. I accept the boundaries may have undefined edges and the primacy of each aspect is a contested area.
Conceptual framework: physical and social reality are subjective with knowledge and truth being discursively produced, while individual access to such resources is influenced by life experience, opportunities and location etc. This results in a diversity of interpretations and produces inequality of acquisition and use. My conceptual framework derives from critical realism, which suggests a realist epistemology and socially constructed ontology. I use Participatory Action Research and Communities of Practice literature as a method for situating participants within the digitally rich and experiential environment of TELEDA while Thematic analysis is the chosen approach to analysing collected data.