Posts Tagged pedagogy

Innovating Pedagogy 2016

Great to see this year’s Innovating Pedagogy 2016 report out. This report, which I co-author with others at The Open University, highlights ten trends that will impact education over the next decade. These include Design Thinking, Productive Failure, Formative Analytics and Translanguaging. The report also presents evidence to inform decisions about which pedagogies to adopt. The pedagogies range from ones already being tested in classrooms, such as learning through video games, to ideas for the future, like adapting blockchain technology for trading educational reputation.

This year, the report has been written in collaboration with the Learning Sciences Lab, National Institute of Education, Singapore.

The ten trends covered this year are:

  1. Learning through social media: Using social media to offer long-term learning opportunities
  2. Productive failure: Drawing on experience to gain deeper understanding
  3. Teachback: Learning by explaining what we have been taught
  4. Design thinking: Applying design methods in order to solve problems
  5. Learning from the crowd: Using the public as a source of knowledge and opinion
  6. Learning through video games: Making learning fun, interactive and stimulating
  7. Formative analytics: Developing analytics that help learners to reflect and improve
  8. Learning for the future: Preparing students for work and life in an unpredictable future
  9. Translanguaging: Enriching learning through the use of multiple languages
  10. Blockchain for learning: Storing, validating and trading educational reputation


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Patterns of engagement across time in MOOCs

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 10.23.26New paper out in the Journal of Learning Analytics Research, building on our previous papers dealing with how learners engage with MOOCs.


Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are being used across the world to provide millions of learners with access to education. Many who begin these courses complete them successfully, or to their own satisfaction, but the high numbers who do not finish remain a subject of concern. In 2013, a team from Stanford University analysed engagement patterns on three MOOCs run on the Coursera platform. They found four distinct patterns of engagement that emerged from MOOCs based on videos and assessments. Subsequent studies on the FutureLearn platform, which is underpinned by social-constructivist pedagogy, indicate that patterns of engagement in these massive learning environments are influenced by decisions about pedagogy and learning design. This paper reports on two of these studies of learner engagement with FutureLearn courses. Study One first tries, not wholly successfully, to replicate the findings of the Coursera study in a new context. It then uses the same methodological approach to identify patterns of learner engagement on the FutureLearn platform, and indicates how these patterns are influenced by pedagogy and elements of learning design. Study Two investigates whether these patterns of engagement are stable on subsequent presentations of the same courses. Two patterns are found consistently in this and other work: samplers who visit briefly, and completers who fully engage with the course. The paper concludes by exploring the implications for both research and practice.

Ferguson, Rebecca, & Clow, Doug. (2016). Consistent commitment: patterns of engagement across time in massive open online courses (MOOCs). Journal of Learning Analytics, 2(3), 63-88.

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Innovating Pedagogy 2014

Cover of Innovating Pedagogy 2014Innovating Pedagogy 2014 has just been published and is available as a free download. It is the third in a series of reports I have co-authored with colleagues at The Open University that explore new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world. While many of these are enabled by technology, these are not reports on new gadgets, but on new ways of teaching and learning.

This year’s report focuses on

  • Massive open social learning
  • Learning design informed by analytics
  • Flipped classroom
  • Bring your own devices
  • Learning to learn
  • Dynamic assessment
  • Event-based learning
  • Learning through storytelling
  • Threshold concepts
  • Bricolage

One of my favourites is learning through storytelling. Of course, this is not a new pedagogy. Writing up an experiment, reporting on an inquiry, analysing a period of history – these are all examples of the use of narrative to support learning that have been used for hundreds of years. However, the use of technology opens up new possibilities. We are increasingly able to create virtual story worlds in which guided exploratory learning can take place. A storyline can also be used to build engagement and provoke discussion in massive open online learning, or in other learning environments where participants spread across the globe build a narrative together. This is an example of technology opening up new possibilities that allow us to expand our use of a tried and trusted approach to teaching and learning.

Postscript December 2014: Ida Brandão has produced a short video of this year’s report.

Postscript February 2015: The report continues to generate interest, with Tweets in different languages appearing, being retweeted or favourited every day or so.

Tweets about Innovating Pedagogy 2014

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What’s so great about massive?

We know the numbers of registrations for massive open online courses (MOOCs) are impressive. Ten thousand, fifty thousand, a hundred thousand – both universities and platform providers love to publicise these huge numbers. But what are the benefits of scale for those involved? Is this just a cheaper (on a per-person) basis) way of providing education? Does it offer any pedagogic benefits for learners and educators? Is there any benefit of learning in a MOOC that I wouldn’t get from one-to-one teaching?

Mike Sharples and I analysed MOOCs on the FutureLearn platform in order to identify the advantages and challenges of teaching and learning at scale, which need to be taken into account in learning design and from a platform perspective.

  • For learners, scale offers access to support from a wide range of other learners, to resources provided by those learners, and to a range of perspectives.
  • For educators, scale offers affective benefits, opportunities for increased access to resources, and a motivation to develop teaching practice.
  • For society, scale offers potential to develop tools and resources for use in other contexts, to change professional practice, to increase access to education and to achieve global impact.
  • The challenges of scale include the need to navigate, filter and make sense of resources, and for learners to be able to access good quality, trustworthy support. MOOCs offer the potential to open up education for those who were previously excluded but, in order to do so, must take on the challenges associated with disability and disadvantage.

More details in the attached pre-print of a paper by Mike and I, ‘Innovative pedagogy at massive scale’, which has been accepted for EC-TEL 2014.

Massive Pedagogy preprint


This paper looks at the implications for pedagogy of education at a massive scale. It begins by looking at educational approaches designed or adapted to be effective for large numbers of learners: direct instruction, networked learning, connectivism, supported open learning, and conversational learning at scale. It goes on to identify benefits and the challenges of teaching and learning at scale. A grounded approach was used to analyse data from 18 MOOCs run on the UK-based FutureLearn platform. This identified benefits and challenges for learners, for educators and for society as a whole. These need to be addressed in two ways, through learning design and through platform design.

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Innovating Pedagogy 2012

Innovating Pedagogy 2012: report cover

Out today – the first in a series of reports from The Open University that provide a straightforward introduction to innovations in education and look at the implications of these innovations for the theory and practice of teaching, learning and assessment.

The report has been written by a small group of academics in the Institute of Educational Technology and the Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology at The Open University. It is based on knowledge acquired from leading research projects, reading and writing educational research papers and blogs, holding conversations with colleagues worldwide, and surveying published and unpublished literature. We compiled the report by first producing a long list of new educational terms, theories, and practices, then paring these down to ten that have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice.

This first report, Innovating Pedagogy, examines ten innovations that are already in use but have not yet had a profound influence on education.

  • Assessment for learning
  • Badges to accredit learning
  • Learning analytics
  • MOOCs
  • New pedagogy for e-books
  • Personal inquiry learning
  • Publisher led mini-courses
  • Rebirth of academic publishing
  • Rhizomatic learning
  • Seamless learning

ScienceOmega interview with Professor Mike Sharples, lead author on the report.

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