2 Learning from Experience


To me it is self-evident. We learn from what we do. Learning is activity. Activity is learning. Even if it is the only outcome, learning will be an outcome of any activity. Much activity is, in any event, focused towards one or more outcomes. This  perspective frames the week's activity: outcomes-led, experiential, activity-based, dialogic, participatory, community learning.

Communication between people rather than interaction alone with content is a condition of our open online course. What is yours?

We do group-work online or distributed collaboration in an environment which supports peer mentoring. There isn't much  self-assessed engagement with content nor, on the other hand, is there much highly dependent, one-to-one feedback with a tutor. What are the benefits or drawbacks of each of these three modes?

  • self-assessed engagement with content?
  • one-to-one feedback with a tutor?
  • group-work and peer mentoring?

Here, I have briefly set out some theoretical underpinnings of my practice. You may find elements resonate with the course team and participants. Importanty there will be some discord unresolved. [cue early modern orchestral music; Stravinsky?]. My explanation (theory) is that learning takes place here (not everywhere, necessarily) because it is:

  • Outcomes led (Laurillard 2002), there is a curriculum and aims. The programme is validated by Oxford Brookes University and contributes towards Higher Education Academy professional recognition as an Associate Fellow (HEA 2011).
  • Experiential, self-evaluative, practitioner-centred, pragmatics - what works - drawing on your own experience (Dewey 1916; Dewey 1997; Kolb 1984).
  • Activity-based, social constructivism; we do or make things in groups - maybe communities, using tools, with acceptable practices (criteria) and different roles. (Vygotsky & Luria 1934; Leont'ev 1978; Engeström 2001).
  • Dialogic (Bakhtin 1981) we talk synchronously and asynchronously, even back into deep time (Henderson 2013).
  • Reflective (Brookfield 1995), bringinging experience into scholarly evidence through four professional "lenses": self, students, colleagues, the literature.
  • Participatory (Warhurst 2006; Whitchurch 2008), tutors engage as and with participants.
  • Community-located (R. Scollon & S. W. Scollon 2001, Wenger 1998) disciplines, institutions, others, work, the world and society.

Why does learning take place on your courses or in your workshops?

Your challenge in this week is to unpick that question!

Turn to the Activity.

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