Shifting Mindsets Within: Self-Study of Professional Learning

Shifting Mindsets Within: Self-Study of Professional Learning

Brenda Wolodko (University of New England, Australia), Cherry Stewart (University of New England, Australia), Nicole Green (University of Southern Queensland, Australia), Helen Edwards (University of New England, Australia), Margaret Brooks (University of New England, Australia) and Roz Littledyke (University of New England, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3978-2.ch015
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In an educational environment focused on providing flexible learning options to diverse student groups—rural and remote, cross-cultural, mature-aged, and second-chance learners—there need to be effective capacity building strategies for the professionals who provide these educational services. People do not resist change; they resist being changed. This chapter describes the capacity building of early childhood educators redesigning curriculum for distance learning. They engaged in self-study using metaphor as a research strategy to investigate their own adaptive practices. The creation of a professional learning community was made possible by supporting personal mastery and reflecting on the shared vision. The process of focusing meta-cognition on one’s own values and beliefs brought about a change in attitudes and perspectives relating to what could be achieved in an online learning environment. This chapter describes the research strategies and outcomes of an academic self-study professional development project. In addition, the authors suggest broader application of metaphor analysis as an elucidating strategy for capacity building.
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What We Don’T Know We Don’T Know

The adoption of Internet-based digital tools and the implementation of interactive strategies involve significant resource networks, both technological and human. Diverse perspectives of the role of higher education in society, and strategies for providing teaching and learning affect processes targeted towards pedagogical change using digital tools. These diverse perspectives stem from higher education stakeholders’ firmly held beliefs of what was appropriate when designing, developing, and implementing degree programs. It was also impacted by their concepts of how students’ engagement with the learning process impacted on the curriculum design process. These concepts and others (for example standards criteria, regulatory frameworks and quality assurance strategies) have often been created from outmoded educational paradigms. These then become set and eventually become immovable objects impinging on the ability of curriculum designers to envisage new and innovative learning paradigms. It has been suggested that many distance education practitioners adopt Black Swan thinking (Stewart, Khan, & Hedberg, 2011), which Taleb (2007) defined as visualising a highly improbable event consisting of three principal characteristics: (1) it is unpredictable; (2) it carries a massive impact; and (3) after the fact, an explanation is concocted that makes it appear less random, and more predictable than it was.

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