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Networked practice

In this video, the people who helped create this course talk about their experience of boundary crossing within digital learning teams.

As part of their networked practice, digital learning practitioners often wear multiple hats, cross boundaries and perform complex knowledge work to bring about the best outcomes for learners.

Earlier, we looked at the role of empathy in design thinking and collaborative, learner-centric approaches to educational service design.

In the previous step, we discussed the changing role of educators in digital learning practice. In this step we examine team teaching and boundary crossing as examples of networked practice.

Team teaching in digital learning

In digital learning practice, no single individual brings all the necessary skills and expertise required to create premium digital learning experiences.

For example, learning designers apply their expertise to identify how learners will most effectively engage with learning content, materials and tasks. Meanwhile, learning technologists and multimedia producers realise the dream of beautifully designed media assets and tools that learners will want to interact with.

From digital pedagogy and learning technology, to multimedia production and project management – and more – the enactment of these transformations requires a holistic team-based approach.

Ambiguity and boundary crossing

Given the field of digital learning is still relatively new and emerging, the fluidity and ambiguity of what roles, responsibilities and functions need to be involved are reflected in the kinds of language used to describe them.

For example, depending on the organisation, role and context, digital learning practitioners may be called academic developers, instructional designers, learning designers, learning technologists, interactive media developers, digital developers or technical support officers – just to name a few.

A small study that looked at a selection of 37 teaching and learning position descriptions found that the roles and practices assigned to these different job titles were unclear and overlapping.

In short, the boundaries of professional roles and responsibilities are often blurred and frequently intersect.

As a result, this impacts on how digital learning practitioners and the work they do, are perceived. It also influences how we feel about ourselves as professionals working in the field of digital learning.

Your task

Watch the video to learn more about the work of the multi-disciplinary team members who contributed to the creation of this course.

Given your professional role, use the comments to reflect on and discuss the following:

  • What are you thoughts about how digital learning roles are described and distinguished?
  • What sort of boundary crossing and knowledge work do you do?
  • What opportunities and challenges have you come across and overcome when working in digital learning teams?
  • Are you part of a group that brings together, engages and shares knowledge and resources among digital learning practitioners (such as TELedvisors below)? Can you share with your peers?

Behind the scenes: Chie’s story

In 2017 I became a co-convenor of a special interest group called TELedvisors (aka Technology-Enhanced Learning/TEL advisors), formed under the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE). As a member, I’ve learned so much from being part of this community. The group now welcomes more than 250 active members across Australasia and aims to bring together, engage and share knowledge and resources among digital learning practitioners via active monthly webinars, discussion forums and local meet-ups. As a fellow digital learning practitioner, you may also benefit from participating in this group.

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Transforming Digital Learning: Learning Design Meets Service Design

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