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Keynote: Goodyear - 'Learning through Inquiry and Teaching-as-design'

Keynote by Peter Goodyear, 28th October 2009, AECT Conference

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Gráinne Conole
28 October 2009

From the AECT website:

Description:   His presentation will start by summarising outcomes from recent research on how university students approach complex inquiry-based learning tasks that involve significant use of educational technology. The research reveals significant variations in how students make sense of such challenges, how they negotiate between their own and their teachers’ goals, and how environmental factors influence the nature and outcomes of their learning activity. The discussion will focus on some of the ways in which students’ conceptions of learning, and other beliefs about learning, interact with their technological choices and with their use (or non-use) of the various kinds of support that their teachers provide. This picture of students exercising autonomy in their learning, but making choices that are not always optimal, will then be used as a backdrop for explaining a conception of university teaching called ‘teaching-as-design’. Peter will sketch a model of teaching-as-design and then focus on forms of knowledge and ways of knowing that stand a reasonable chance of improving teachers’ educational design activity. Finally, he will draw out some implications for an educational technology research agenda that is fit for the purpose of improving the integrative challenges of teaching-as-design.

Professor of education and co-director of the CoCo Research Centre, University of Sydney, Senior Fellow, Australian Learning and Teaching Council

Three parts to the keynote

  1. Research into students experience of learning in blended learning contexts
  2. Concept of teaching as design
  3. Forms of knowledge capture, ways of sharing expertise for design between teachers involved in designing for students

1. Learning through inquiry

  • Inquiry learning is about - all forms of educational activity that give a central place to students ingvetigattive work. For example problem-based learning,  project-based learning, or  collaborative knowledge building
  • It may be Individual  or group based, and often involves discussion for coordinated as well as knowledge building
  • Draws on:
    • Important in terms of development of graduate capabilities – Argyris, C (1998) "Teaching smart people how to learn" – Harvard Bus Review on Knowledge Management, Cam MA
    • Boulton G and Lucas C 2008 "What are universities for?"
  • Learning to deal with complexity, helping students to deal with this
  • Goodyear and Zenios 2007 BJET 55 (4) discussion collaborative knowledge work and epistemic fluency
  • Researching university students experiences of blended learning from a phenomenographic perspective 0 students conceptions of learning, students approaches to study – strategies and intentions.Undertook a set of In depth interviews n = 20, open ended survey n = 50 and likert scale instruments n =100
  • New book Ellis and Goodyear Routledge, 2009
  • Taped and transcribed – each read independently by 3 researchers – illuminating phrases and main themes noted and compared, further reading, categories, comparison, discussion, final agreement
  • Three areas: conceptions, f2f approaches, online approaches
  • Adv in Health Sci Educ (2008) 13: 675-692
  • Concepts of PBL a way if developing independent clinical reasoning and problem solving abilities through to more restricted views as a way of covering topics to answer problems, a way of followig a predefined process. Get a lot of variation between the students in terms of what they think they can get out of PBL
  • Approaches – deep vs. surface. Find that very few of the students are actually adopting deep learning approaches
  • Distribution of conceptions and approaches – the majority are not adopting richer notions of PBL or deep approaches, there is a mis-match between the teachers intentions and what they students are actually doing. Translates through to end of course grades
  • Students should make choices in HE need to become autonomous, about how they respond to the tasks set for them, what tools and resource to use
  • But their choices are less than optimal. The patterns we see are familiar from 30 years of HE research, but we are picking it up in contexts where technology plays a role too.
  • Students are looking to us – their teachers for guidance’s even about the educational use of technologies
  • What form should design guidance’s take when it needs tow ork in participatory/co-design/co-configuration context?

2. Teaching as design

  • The decline of the compliant learner – in HE there isn’t a systematic approach to instructional design/learning design. The challenges teachers are facing now are incredibly complex, to try and help students benefit from the opportunities need a more systematic approach need to use some design tools. Some of ideas of instructional design have assumed a compliant learner – they will do what they are set. This is not true in HE and we don’t want them to be compliant. We want them to be creative, to interpret the task, to appropriate it. Design more about the crafting of affordances than the determination of activities.
  • The architecture of productive learning environments
  • Educational design as the crafting of affordances
  • From sage on the stage to guide on the side
  • Teaching as telling towards teaching as facilitation
  • Learning by listening to learning by doing (more activity-based learning)
  • But we also need to include – teaching as design… ie to the team with a scheme
  • C21 learning is different and we need to adapt our design methods to better reflect this– learning to think for a living, teacher-researcher, extended professional
  • Multiple intended learning outcomes tasks – lead to activity – leads to outcomes
  • Distinction between task (what the teacher sets for the student to do) and activity (what the students actually do)
  • Legitimate (re)interpretation of task: creative, personalised, “satisficing”
  • Learning is physically situated – “learnplaces” and is socially situated – groups, teams and communities
  • Then design centred on student activities – people, community and tools, resource and infrastructure, social relations, place. With the tasks as the “rules”
  • Indirect approach to design – learnplace, social space and tasks
  • We need to design these design components (task, tools, people) from the micro, meso and macro level. We need to better integrate across these as well.
  • Teaching as design – indirect because legitimised by the students gap bet task specified and subsequent student activities
  • Co-configuration of the complex mix of material and digital tools, resources and places
  • Autonomy exercised by students in making choices about who to work with and how
  • Plus alignment up and down the system – macro to micro
  • Against this backdrop how can we support teachers’ design work?

3. Capturing and sharing experiential and evidence based knowledge for design

  • Goodyear and Retalis, forthcoming edited collection on current research on pedagogical patterns. “Technology-enhanced learning design patterns and patterns languages”
  • A pattern is a solution to a recurrent problem in a context Alexander et al., 1977
  • A pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a millions times over
  • Structure: context, essence of the problem, rationale, the solution (which is action orientated), smaller patterns

Pedagogical pattern: Umpire

  • Defines a role that is useful in a umber of group task patterns
  • Lively discussion can generate emotion and someone will occasionally say something offensive…
  • Solution make it responsibility o the group to deal with offensive comments, give one or two students the role of umpire
  • Lower level patterns – scribe and wrapper and whistle
  • These fit together in a pattern language
  • Course, inquiry task, planning group _ problem scenario, umpire + scribe + wrapper

Design patterns and pattern languages: take home points

  • Design as intimately involved in balancing competing forces
  • Contextualised guidance vs. universal principles
  • Linking rationale to action-oriented guidance including students
  • Rationale can draw on experience theory empirical data etc
  • Performance support balance with professional development
  • Giving names to useful recurrent forms is a significant contribution (for example the jigsaw pattern)
  • Linking design patterns to software etc


Students are active interpreters of task requirements

Educational designs need to have ways of helping us talk abut design of good tasks

In relation to tasks, tools and people, students will need to exercise significant autonomy in their choices, often make sub-optimal choices, there are things we can do to help with this, better scaffolding, changing the culture

Major practical challenge – managing the interface between increasing smart and ubiquitous technologies and the local infrastructure

Transforming knowledge so that its application by time poor undertrained teachers and in local contexts

Having a shared sense of the architecture of what we are trying to create can really focus outputs from research in educational technology/learning sciences – a clearer sense of the users of research and the specifics of their needs


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Jesus Salinas
1:26am 29 October 2009

Comprehensive summary of the keynote of Peter Goodyear at AECT COnference, Grainne.

I think especially the third part provides clues for reflection and debate.

Alfred Low
10:30am 29 October 2009 (Edited 3:55pm 29 October 2009)

Great to note the difference between task and activity as the two is often used interchangeably. If memory serves, this distinction is given by Beetham and Sharpe (2007).

I also wonder the extent interactive white boards and its array of input devices are good for collaborative learning spaces because anytime, anywhere access is limited. In spite of this, IWBs have flooded the world's classrooms - Smarts and Prometheans...

Third, affordances as actionable properties (given by Gibson), perceived actionable properties (given by Norman) and perceived actionable properties (given by Gaver) has sprouted into a plethora of unique labels that I supposed are directly linked to the technologies features/functions in the context of activities or task in a learning episode. I sometimes cannot understand those labels.

Peter Goodyear
9:13pm 29 October 2009

Thanks Grainne for such a thorough log of the talk. Much appreciated. More on the first two sections can indeed be found in the new Ellis & Goodyear book, but for design patterns you'll have to look elsewhere. I'll add a reference.

Alfred - thanks for recognising the task:activity distinction. It's something I picked up on from the work of Alain Wisner (who was writing in Ergonomics). I started using it in relation to educational design about 10 years ago (see the Goodyear 2000 ref). I think Rhona & Helen must have got it from me ;-)

Gráinne Conole
9:20pm 29 October 2009

Hi Peter thanks for the link and yes i am sure Rhona and Helen would acknowledge it as coming from your work originally ;-) Their book is a nice gentle introduction to work in learning design and has chapters and case studies from a variety of people working in this area. In particular the appendices are a wealth of useful resources - from design checklists to a detailed learning design taxonomy (that's my appendix ;-))


Peter Goodyear
9:24pm 29 October 2009

and they have a wonderful follow-up book in preparation: 

Sharpe, R., Beetham, H. & de Freitas, S (eds). Rethinking learning for the digital age: how learners shape their own experiences. Routledge.

Gráinne Conole
12:37pm 30 October 2009

Yep their latest book is an edited collection drawing on recent research into exploration of learners' experiences with technologies. In part this has come out as a follow up to the JISC Learner Experience programme which has funded about a dozen projects in this area over the last few years. I'll add a link to the JISC site on this.

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