Evaluating innovative practices
As a digital learning practitioner, you may have heard the saying ‘pedagogy before technology’. So how do we know whether technology is serving us well for enhanced online learning?
In the last few steps, we’ve looked at the people (ie digital learning practitioners) and practices transforming digital learning.
Now we’ll look at some of the ways we can identify and evaluate our practice to ensure that we’re improving the quality of digitally-enabled learning solutions.
Digital learning reports
There are a number of educational and research institutions that look at innovation and trends in digital learning, some of which include the following:
- NMC Horizon 2018 report: annual report investigating the short-, mid- and long-term trends, challenges and developments around educational technology within a higher education context
- OECD 2016 report: an analysis of innovative digital technologies and their impact on (global) education
- Open University 2019 report: annual report exploring innovations in educational pedagogies
Reports such as these are useful in finding out what research tells us about how we might conceptualise and apply approaches to innovation for digital learning.
Digital learning frameworks
Let’s now look at some of the frameworks, including guidelines and standards, that facilitate the evaluation of digital learning practices and environments, some of which also lead to accreditation and recognition of innovative professional practice.
- National guidelines for improving student outcomes in online learning: outlines 10 guidelines for improving student outcomes in online learning within an Australian tertiary context
- Technology Enhanced Learning Accreditation Scheme (TELAS): draft scheme currently under development by the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) that will allow digital learning practitioners to evaluate and accredit their design work
- ACODE benchmark for technology-enhanced learning: a benchmarking framework that facilitates educational institutions to model and self-evaluate continuous quality improvements in technology enhanced learning
- Certified Membership of Association for Learning Technology (CMALT): an international certification specific to individual digital learning practitioners through submission of their portfolio work
- Quality Matters rubric: eight general and 42 specific review standards that allow digital learning practitioners (from across all educational sectors) to evaluate the design of online and blended learning courses
- Online Consortium (OLC) course review scorecard (OSCQR): a rubric comprised of 50 instructional design and accessibility standards
Aligning pedagogy and technology
When it comes to balancing pedagogical and technological approaches to learning, these reports and frameworks – and the overarching criteria and aspects that emerge from more broadly – can be synthesised to evaluate and benchmark digital learning design and practices.
In essence, these standards and frameworks outline that digital learning is:
- aligned and scaffolded: has constructively aligned outcomes, assessments, learning activities
- social and inclusive: is collaborative, multi-disciplinary, personal
- supported: takes a learner-centred approach, offers service and product design
- tracked and responded: provides feedback, learning analytics
- afforded by the appropriate use of technology: supports critical digital pedagogy, educational technologies.
Participate in one of the following tasks:
- Select one of the above-mentioned frameworks and standards and conduct your own further investigation. Share your summary of the framework/standard and talk about why and how it can be applied in evaluating and recognising (innovative) practices in your context.
- Share another useful framework/standard you know about (that isn’t mentioned here). And talk about why and how it’s useful in your context.
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