Building Practitioner Skills in Personalised eLearning: Messages for Professional Development

Building Practitioner Skills in Personalised eLearning: Messages for Professional Development

Ruth Pilkington (University of Central Lancashire, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-884-0.ch010
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Abstract

The chapter suggests the implementation of personalised learning within Higher Education raises fundamental issues and challenges when developing academic staff to support this form of learning and explores some of the challenges raised. It discusses the value of personalised learning for professional development in particular within the context of UK Professional Standards for HE staff. The chapter uses a case study to illustrate the issues and solutions offered by personalised eLearning and identifies particular issues of literacy, prior learning and comfort with respect to online delivery that need to be recognised for both developers and professional learners. The case study draws on a Joint Informations Systems Committee (JISC) funded project under the RePRODUCE banner and compares findings with existing traditional means of developing staff, as well as discussing the processes represented and the contributions that can be made when personalising learning more widely within HE.
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Building Practitioner Skills In Personalised Elearning – Messages For Professional Development

Introduction

The emergence of personalised learning within the tertiary sector is an invitation for e-technology that must not be rejected. The web offers potential for students to access knowledge globally, and to individualise learning by using instant access to information as a learning resource. Social networking tools like Facebook, chat-rooms, discussion media and blogs can be used to share and build knowledge, reflecting a trend towards a socialised process of eLearning.

Professional development has become a significant activity within higher education (HE) as a result of initiatives to support and enhance learning and teaching activity in the UK higher education (HE) sector. These initiatives are embedded in HE as part of the Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning initiative, the work of The Higher Education Academy and its associated Subject Centres, and most recently through the introduction of a UK Framework of Professional Standards (UK PSF) for Teaching in HE (Higher Education Funding Council for England, HEFCE, 2006).

Academic and educational developers are employed within HE for the initial and continuing professional development (CPD) of HE staff. They often lead and support experienced staff in the enhancement of teaching and learning; provide initial teacher training to meet professional standards; and address a range of pedagogical themes and development needs in response to learning and teaching strategies and institutional priorities.

Personalised learning with its emphasis on learner centredness, diversity, empowerment of learners and flexibility (Beetham & Sharpe, 2007; MacDonald, 2006; Taylor, 2000; Phipps et al, 2008) could in principle provide an effective means of addressing the professional learning needs of academic staff within this context of initial and continuing professional development. This chapter explores whether this is in fact the case.

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