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Models of learning and teaching


Models of learning and teaching Dr. Charles Buckley Dr. Jo Maddern CB: Session will be taught by Jo Maddern and Charles Buckley. Geography and Sports Science. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Models of learning and teaching

Models of learning and teaching
  • Dr. Charles Buckley
  • Dr. Jo Maddern

Learning outcomes
  • At the end of this session participants will be
    able to
  • Evaluate critically some of the key issues
    associated with variation theory and threshold
  • Assess the practicality of, and ways that the
    above theories might inform practice.
  • Reflect critically on personal conceptions of
    learning and teaching in relation to a selection
    of theoretical propositions covered in the

Threshold Concepts
  • In certain disciplines there are conceptual
    gateways or portals that lead to a previously
    inaccessible, and initially perhaps troublesome
    way of thinking about something. (Meyer and
    Land, 2005, p. 373).
  • Precedent
  • Depreciation
  • Irony

Hegemony (cultural studies)
Threshold Concepts Retracing own days of
innocence (Cousin, 2006)
  • Identify the key threshold concepts (2-3) related
    to your discipline .
  • Retrace your journey.
  • Explain to a colleague.
  • Listen and reflect.

5 key characteristics of threshold concepts
  • 1. Transformative
  • Ontological as well as conceptual shift.
  • 2. Irreversible
  • Once understood, unlikely to forget.
  • 3. Integrative
  • Exposes the hidden relatedness of a phenomenon.

5 Key characteristics of threshold concepts
  • 4. Bounded
  • Will have frontiers
  • 5. Troublesome
  • Likely to involve troublesome knowledge which
    is counter-intuitive, alien, or seemingly
    incoherent (Meyer and Land, 2003, p.7).

Liminal states and curriculum design
  • Rites of passage (e.g. van Gennep, 1960 and
  • Turner, 1969)
  • Streamed video Cousin (2006)
  • Transformative
  • New knowledge and status
  • Problematic
  • Transformation protracted with oscillation
  • Demonstrates mimicry of new status

  • Learning is both affective and cognitive and it
    involves identity shifts which can entail
    troublesome, unsafe journeys. Often students
    construct their own conditions of safety through
    the practice of mimicry in this case, learning
    is the product of ritualised performances rather
    than integrated understandings (Cousin, 2006 p.
    5) .

Threshold concepts and curriculum design
  • 1. Jewels in the curriculum (Land et al., 2006)
  • A tendency among academic teachers is to stuff
    their curriculum with content, burdening
    themselves with the task of transmitting vast
    amounts of knowledge bulk and their students of
    absorbing and reproducing this bulk. In contrast,
    a focus on threshold concepts enables teachers to
    make refined decisions about what is fundamental
    to a grasp of the subject they are teaching. It
    is a less is more approach to curriculum
    design. (Cousins, 2006, p.4)

  • 2. Listening for understanding
  • gaze back across thresholds
  • cultivate a third ear that listens not for what
    a student knows but for the terms that shape a
    students knowledge (Land et al., 2006, p.200).

  • 3. A holding environment
  • tolerate learner confusion and hold their
    students through liminal states.

  • 4. Recursiveness and excursiveness
  • Learning involves a number of takes and
    looping back on conceptual material critique of
    linear approach.
  • Learning is also a journey or excursion

Variation theory
  • Meyer and Land (2005) argue that supporting
    students understanding towards grasping
    threshold concepts is enhanced by focusing on the
    notion of variation. At a basic level

Deep, surface and strategic
Variation theory
  • The variation theory of learning is based on the
    idea that for learning to occur, variation must
    be experienced by the learner. Without variation
    there is no discernment, and without discernment
    there is no learning. (Marton Trigwell, 2000).

Blended learning
  • Blended learning can involve students learning
    through experiencing variation in aspects of what
    it is that they are studying (Oliver and
    Trigwell, 2005).
  • Improvements in students performance attributed
    to an increase in choice (e.g. Entwistle
    Ramsden, 1983 Ramsden, 1991, 2003),

Blending for variation
  • Careful planning based on sound pedagogical
  • Forms?
  • Instruction
  • Mixed media
  • Encouraging students to identify their own views
    and relating those views to the scientific views
  • Letting students be confronted with each others
    views is a most powerful pedagogical tool (Fazey
    and Marton, 2002, p. 239)

Examples of variation using networked
  • Echo 360
  • Brenda Smith Podcast

Variation in learning within disciplines
  • In a group of three/four with colleagues from a
    similar discipline(e.g. within humanities, social
    sciences, arts, etc.), discuss how you might use
    principles of variation theory in a level 2
    undergraduate module.

Blended learning and students approaches to study
  • Approaches to learning are markedly influenced
    by the teaching and learning environment (Kember
    et al., 2008).
  • Buckley et al., (2007) Sport students
    approaches to study and blended learning
  • 52 ASSIST survey n144
  • 23 item questionnaire conceptions of learning
  • Judgements about Networked Learning Scale
    (Goodyear et al., 2003)
  • Focus group interviews n19

Residential fieldwork trip, group presentation,
reflective portfolio
Technology regular asynchronous forum, web
searching, videos, RSS feeds, podcasts
Kolb Learning Style Inventory (Kolb, 1985) and
The Learning Styles Questionnaire (Honey
Mumford, 1986).
Findings and implications
  • Students with Deep and Strategic approaches
    somewhat more comfortable with a blended learning
    environment than Surface approach.
  • Being actively involved in doing and/or having a
    visual stimulus
  • I personally prefer like videos and pictures
    and sound bytes rather than just like 19 slides
    of black and white, You remember if like theres
    a funny video or if theres just like a video, of
    an athlete, like I dont know running or
    something like that it soaks in a bit, better
    because you can relate to what youve learned
    already (David)

  • Students should be
  • encouraged to reflect and offered critical
    guidance on understanding the way they approach
    study within a blended learning environment. (In
    line with existing research e.g. Thorne, 2003
    Sharpe et al., 2006).
  • empowered and encouraged to take on
    responsibilities e.g. make contributions to
    course content. (In line with Pritchard et al.,
    2006). Provide for shared learning experiences
    through communal constructivism(In line with
    Buckley and Donert, 2004 and Holmes and Gardner,

Changing Conceptions of Teaching
  • Think-Do-Think or Do-Think-Do?
  • The discomfort of change is eased when people
    anticipate and plan how to manage it. One
    effective plan for overcoming the
    theory-or-practice dilemma described above is to
    aim to combine theory and practice into one
    rhythm of effort. In practical terms, that means
    taking either a think-do-think approach to
    enculturating thinking dispositions in the
    classroom, or a do-think-do approach. (Tishman,
    Jay and Perkins, 1992).

  • By focusing on threshold concepts you create more
    space in the curriculum.
  • Understanding of threshold concepts can be
    cultivated through variation.
  • Threshold concepts and variation encourage a
    deeper approach to learning

  • Boulos , M.N.K., Maramba, I and Wheeler, S.
    (2006) Wikis, blogs and podcasts a new
    generation of Web-based tools for virtual
    collaborative clinical practice and education
    BMC Medical Education , 641 (Available at
    Accessed 13th September 2008).
  • Bruner, J. S. (1990) Acts of Meaning. Cambridge,
    MA Harvard University Press
  • Buckley, C. A. and Donert, K. (2004) Evaluating
    e-learning courses for continuing professional
    development using the Conversational Model A
    review of UNIGIS. European Journal of Open and
    Distance Learning. Issue 2.
  • Buckley, C. A. Norton, B. Owens, T. and Pitt, E.
    (2007) Blended learning for Sport Studies
    students and its relationship with approaches to
    study. British Educational Research Association
    Annual Conference, University of London 5-8th
    September 2008.
  • Buckley, C.A., Pitt, E., Owens, T and Norton, B.
    (2007) Blended learning for Personal Development
    with first Year undergraduate Sport Studies
    students. On Reflection. Centre for Recording
    Achievement http//
  • Cousin, G. (2006) An introduction to threshold
    concepts Planet 17 (pp. 4-5)

  • Entwistle, N.J. Ramsden, P. (1983)
    Understanding Student Learning. London Croom
  • Fazey, J. and Marton, F. (2002) Understanding the
    Space of Experiential Variation Active Learning
    in Higher Education 3 (3) 234-250).
  • Holmes, B. Gardner, J. (2006) E Learning.
    Concepts and Practice. London Sage.
  • Honey, P., Mumford, A. (1986). The Manual of
    Learning Styles. Maidenhead Peter Honey
  • Kember, D., Leung, D. Y. P. McNaught, C. (2008)
    A workshop activity to demonstrate that
    approaches to learning are influenced by the
    teaching and learning environment, Active
    Learning in Higher Education 9 (1) 43-56.
  • Kolb, D. A. (1985). Kolb Learning Style Inventory
    Version 3.1. Boston, MA Hay Resources Direct.

  • Land, R., Cousin, G., Meyer, J.H.F. and Davies,
    P. (2006) Threshold concepts and troublesome
    knowledge (3) implications for course design and
    evaluation, in C. Rust (ed.), Improving Student
    Learning equality and diversity, Oxford OCSLD.
  • Marton, F. Trigwell, K. (2000) Variatio est
    mater studiorum, Higher Education Research and
    Development, 19, pp. 381-395.
  • Meyer, J.H.F. and Land, R. (2003). Threshold
    concepts and troublesome knowledge Linkages to
    ways of thinking and practising within the
    disciplines, in Rust, C. (ed.), Improving
    Student Learning Improving Student Learning
    Theory and Practice Ten Years On. Oxford
    Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development.
  • Meyer, J.H.F. and Land, R. (2005). Threshold
    concepts and troublesome knowledge (2)
    Epistemological considerations and a conceptual
    framework for teaching and learning. Higher
    Education 49, pp. 373-388.
  • Oliver, M. and trigwell, K. (2005) Can blended
    learning be redeemed? E-Learning 2 (1) (pp.
  • Prichard, J.S., Stratford, R.J., Bizo, L.A.
    (2006) Team-Skills Training enhances
    collaborative learning, Learning and Instruction
    16, (3) 256-265.

  • Ramsden, P. (1991) A Performance Indicator of
    Teaching Quality in Higher Education the Course
    Experience Questionnaire, Studies in Higher
    Education, 16, pp. 129-150.
  • Ramsden, P. (2003) Learning to Teach in Higher
    Education. London Routledge Falmer.
  • Sharpe, R, Benfield, G., Roberts, G. and Francis,
    R. (2006) The Undergraduate Experience of Blended
    e-learning a Review of UK Literature and
    Practice. York Higher Education Academy.
  • Thorne, K. (2003) Blended Learning. How to
    Integrate Online and Traditional Learning.
    London Kogan Page.
  • Tishman, S. Jay, E. and Perkins, D. N. (1992)
    Teaching Thinking Dispositions From Transmission
    to Enculturation Theory into Practice, 32(3),
  • Turner, V. (1969). The Ritual Process Structure
    and Anti-Structure. London Routledge and Kegan
  • van Gennep, A. (1960). The Rites of Passage.
    London Routledge and Kegan Paul.