Guardia, L. (ed.) (2016) Next Generation Pedagogy: IDEAS for Online and Blended Higher Education. Barcelona Spain: UOC eLearn Centre.
This report aims
to provide a “roadmap” to inform strategic planning for the future of online and blended higher education, through an exploratory search and identification of trends and innovations in online, blended and lifelong learning provision globally, with a focus on pedagogy and the analysis of related institutional examples in the higher education sector.
‘Next generation’ pedagogies
The report’s executive summary provides a succinct description of emerging developments in online pedagogy, summarised in the acronym IDEAS: Intelligent, Distributed, Engaging, Agile and Situated.
The IDEAS framework presents five “signposts” on the roadmap of innovative approaches to teaching, which point to next-generation pedagogy:
- Intelligent pedagogy is an approach to teaching in which technology is used to enhance the learning experience. Examples include using learning analytics to support course leaders in curriculum design decisions as well as to help students manage their learning, ensuring that both learners and teachers learn digital competences, creating a learning environment that is not restricted to an institutional learning management system, and the creative use of technologies such as virtual and augmented reality for learning and teaching.
- Distributed pedagogy refers to shared or distributed ownership of different elements of the learning journey by different stakeholders in the process. It includes, at the one end of the spectrum, collaborative partnerships between institutions, and at the other, a deliberate separation of services to allow learners to select different aspects of their learning experience from a marketplace of potentially competing providers. It is possible for a single institution to have offerings at both ends of this spectrum.
- Engaging pedagogy is an approach to curriculum design and delivery in which learners are encouraged to actively participate in the learning process. Related practices include supporting students to develop portfolios that have relevance for them outside of the classroom, involving the learners in producing content both for peers and for the wider public, creating conditions in which learners can construct knowledge for themselves, and including an element of gamification in the learning process. There is a related increased emphasis on teaching enhancement programmes for teaching staff to support them in making the learning experience engaging for learners.
- Agile pedagogy refers to flexibility and customisation of the curriculum and the student experience. It includes personalised learning pathways and individualised support for learners, recognition of prior, non-formal learning achievements in order to widen participation and fast-track learners through programmes, responsiveness of institutions and systems to learners’ needs, and support for virtual mobility of students and internationalisation of the curriculum. All these developments also support the widening of participation in higher education, facilitating access for learners who might previously have been excluded.
- Situated pedagogy encompasses the idea of contextualisation of learning and emphasises the need for curricula with real-world relevance. It expands work-related learning opportunities for students, and supports.
It also provides real-world examples, drawn internationally, that illustrate each of the five developments.
This report is intended to be used as a launchpad for wide-ranging dialogue amongst stakeholders at distance teaching universities, contributing to the development of a bold vision of the impact that these institutions can have on global higher education and on society as a whole.
Emerging online practices
The five IDEAS are a useful organizational framework for summarising what in fact is a wide range of emerging online practices identified in this study, including:
- Active learning (Arizona State University, USA)
- Beyond the LMS: augmented reality: (University de Huelva, Spain)
- Inter-institutional collaboration (BCcampus, Canada)
- Digital literacy (DIGCOMP, EU)
- Collaboration between HE institutions and employers (X-Culture, global)
- Flexibility and personalisation (Capella University, USA)
- Innovation as a teachable topic (MIT, USA)
- Internationalisation (Massey University, New Zealand)
- Learning analytics (Georgia State University, USA)
- Non-formal and open learning (OpenClassrooms, France)
- Recognition of prior learning (Athabasca University, Canada)
- Faculty development (Penn State University, USA)
This report provides some intriguing suggestions for designers of blended and online learning. As the report states:
The examples of initiatives discussed ….. may be used as inspiration for course teams, departments or institutions to explore innovative practices.
It is clear that universities are going to change, not just because technology is at last beginning to radically shake up how we design courses, but also because the needs of learners are changing. In the end, the value of any new online pedagogy will be judged by how well it helps meets these needs. This report provides many useful ideas and examples that should help stimulate such developments.