Emerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning

Apr 2016 | 192pp

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Emerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning
A practical guide for librarians and educators

Barbara Allan

Emerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning provides a straightforward and accessible guide to the latest learning and teaching practices appropriate for use with higher education students.

It is both an exciting and challenging time to be working in higher education as the sector experiences rapid changes including: an increasingly diverse student population with changing expectations; changes in technology such as the rise in the use of social media; increased emphasis on employability and internationalization; development of new social learning spaces; as well as an ever-decreasing resource base. As a result of these changes, new approaches to supporting student learning are developing rapidly.

In the past five years, developments in both the theory and practice of learning and teaching have created a complex landscape which it is sometimes difficult to navigate. Emerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning provides practical guidance and brings together theory and practice in an accessible style. The book covers a wide range of tools and techniques (relevant to face-to-face, blended learning and online practices) which will suit students in different contexts from large groups of 500+ to very small classes of research students. 

This practical book makes extensive use of case studies, examples, checklists and tables and contains:

  • An analysis of the current higher education landscape, the changes that are occurring and the diverse nature of student populations
  • An exploration of new theories of digital literacy incorporating case studies demonstrating how library and information workers have applied these models in practice
  • A demonstration of the many different ways in which academic library and information services are working in support of student employability
  • A theoretical overview of different approaches to teaching and learning , with Kolb’s learning cycle, Laurillard’s conversational framework for university teaching, Entwistle’s teaching for understanding at university, Land and Meyer’s threshold concepts, and the Higher Education Academy’s work on flexible pedagogies
  • Practical guidance on designing, developing and evaluating courses and other learning and teaching events in different situations,  made up of face-to-face, flipped classroom, blended learning and online learning
  • An exploration of approaches to personal and professional development  with 90+ approaches to workplace learning; accredited courses; short courses, conferences and workshops; networking through professional organizations and developing online networks.

ReadershipEmerging Strategies for Supporting Student Learning will be essential reading for different groups working in colleges and universities such as library and information workers, staff developers, educational technologists, educational development project workers, educational change agents and students of library and information science who are planning their careers in higher education institutions.

1. Introduction

  • Introduction to the book
  • Introduction to this chapter
  • Changing the learning landscape
  • Student expectations and experiences
  • Flexible learning
  • Library spaces
  • Employability
  • Internationalisation of higher education
  • Institutional responses to change
  • Changing ways of working for library and information professionals
  • Structure of the book
  • Summary
  • References

2. Working with diversity

  • Introduction
  • Diverse student populations
  • Students in the digital age
  • Working with international students
  • Students with disabilities
  • Part time students
  • Diverse learning styles
  • Practical approaches for working with diverse groups of students
  • Summary
  • References

3. Digital literacies

  • Introduction
  • Digital literacies
  • Information literacy
  • Metaliteracy
  • Additional case studies
  • Digital badges
  • Summary
  • References

4. Employability

  • Introduction
  • Academic libraries and employability
  • Graduate attributes
  • Working with students
  • Summary
  • References

5. Approaches to learning and teaching

  • Introduction
  • Kolb's learning cycle
  • A conversational framework for university teaching
  • Teaching for understanding at university
  • Threshold concepts
  • Flexible pedagogies
  • Putting the pieces together
  • References

6. Learning and teaching activities

  • Introduction
  • Presenting basic ideas
  • Common learning and teaching activities
  • Assessment of learning
  • Reflection on learning
  • Learning and teaching without courses
  • Summary
  • References

7. Making it happen

  • Introduction
  • Thinking about participants
  • Basic design principles
  • Levels of learning
  • Design of individual learning activities
  • Finding and using learning resources
  • Reviewing the programme design
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Summary
  • References

8. Designing face-to-face, blended and online courses

  • Introduction
  • Designing face-to-face sessions
  • Designing flipped classroom sessions
  • Designing blended learning courses
  • Design of online courses
  • Summary
  • References

9. Delivering learning experiences

  • Introduction
  • Preparing yourself
  • Face-to-face delivery
  • On-line delivery
  • Co-facilitation
  • Summary
  • References

10. Evaluation of learning and teaching activities, and courses

  • Introduction
  • UK quality control and enhancement processes
  • Research on evaluation of learning and teaching in academic libraries
  • Evaluation in practice
  • Combined methods of evaluation
  • Summary
  • References

11. Lifelong professional development

  • Introduction
  • Identifying your personal goals
  • Developing your portfolio
  • Gaining support
  • Learning in the workplace
  • Accredited courses
  • Short courses, conferences and workshops
  • Networking through professional organisations
  • Developing online networks.

"Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just at the beginning of your career, this book is a must read with invaluable and accessible information on current pedagogical theory for HE, practical examples of teaching activities, vital checklists for teaching delivery and precious recommendations for future professional development."
- Marta Cassaro, University of Arts London, Journal of Information Literacy

"In this latest work, Dr. Allan has created a text that achieves nearly the impossible: There is something of interest to nearly everyone who works with students, including academic librarians. Though it is arguably of the greatest use to those who are least experienced, there are thoughtful ideas and suggestions that even the most experienced among us will find intriguing and useful."
- Joseph Aubele, California State University,C&RL 

“There is an excellent overview of ideas and models of student learning, ranging from classics such as Kolb’s experiential learning style to the more recent work on flexible pedagogies by the Higher Education Academy. This is followed by practical chapters on the variety of techniques and activities you can employ when working in learning and teaching, a section on the assessment of learning, course design and evaluation.”
- Suzie Kitchin, Northumbria University, Update

"Impressively, Allan succeeds in structuring this guide so that it provides a practical, rather than abstract, exploration of the complex landscape of higher education. Short chapters (the lengthiest is 23 pages) facilitate spurts of brief, informal reading and are clearly divided into sections that offer examples, case studies, bulleted lists, quick tips, and sometimes sample lesson plans...this book is recommended for librarians who are new to and interested in teaching by academic librarians, and will also be of interest to experienced teaching librarians who are seeking to stay current with teaching and learning trends and practices in higher education." 
- Renae Newhouse, Communications in Information Literacy 

'Each chapter is an easy read and all are well referenced. Among the book’s strengths is its applicability to educators both within and beyond the library. In addition, it addresses face-to-face and online learning situations and includes many case studies that bear witness to the topics being discussed.' 
-Ashley Thomson, J.N. Desmarais Library, Laurentian University, Partnership:The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

Barbara Allan is an author and trainer. Her background includes managing workplace and academic libraries. She has spent many years working in business schools where her focus was on enhancing learning, teaching and the student experience, and the internationalization and employability agendas. Her qualifications include a doctorate in education (on the topic of e-mentoring and women into leadership). She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2008.Barbara is a Member of CILIP and the author of several Facet Publishing titles including, The No-nonsense Guide to Training in Libraries (2013), Supporting Research Students (2009) Project Management (2004) Supervising and Leading Teams in ILS (2006) and Blended Learning (2007).


1. Introduction

Chapter 1 provides an insight into the current context of higher education and highlights changes that are taking place in the following areas: the learning landscape, students’ experiences and expectations, the relevance of flexible learning, internationalization and student employability. It establishes the environment in which current practices in supporting student learning are changing and developing.


2. Working with students

Chapter 2 considers the diverse nature of student populations. It starts by considering the many different forms of difference within a student population. This is followed by a discussion on students in the digital age, which complements the section on students’ expectations and experiences in Chapter 1, and extends it to consider some of the implications for library and information services. Student mobility is now an important facet of academic life and the section on working with international students demonstrates their diversity and discusses how home students have very mixed educational and library experience. The next section considers students with disabilities and highlights some of the forms of support for them and the kinds of typical reasonable adjustments made to support these students in their academic work. This is followed by a section on part-time students, which considers some of their distinct characteristics and their need for flexible support. The concept of learning styles is regularly critiqued but they have influenced learning and teaching practices in higher education and there is still a lively research debate about their validity. Two approaches to learning styles – multiple intelligences and the VARK system (the visual, auditory, reading or writing and kinaesthetic modalities of learning) – are outlined. Chapter 2 concludes by giving tips for working with diverse groups of students.


3. Digital literacies

Chapter 3 considers different approaches to learning and teaching. The models or theories explored in this chapter are Kolb’s learning cycle, Laurillard’s conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies, Entwistle’s teaching for understanding at university, Land and Meyer’s threshold concepts, and the Higher Education Academy’s work on flexible pedagogies. The different approaches to learning and teaching present a complex picture and the summary for this chapter pulls out the key ideas from each model or theory which are relevant to library and information workers’ practices in supporting student learning.


4. Employability

Chapter 4 is concerned with digital literacies and covers several topics including digital literacies, information literacies including metaliteracy, and digital badges. Each section provides a definition and outline of the subject, followed by examples and case studies of current practice in libraries and information services in universities and colleges.


5. Approaches to learning and teaching

Chapter 5 provides an overview of different approaches to employability and explores the different ways in which library and information workers support the development of student employability. This is followed by an investigation into the many ways that students work in libraries, e.g. through work experience, academic projects and volunteering, and as co-creators; this supports their employability and helps libraries to develop and innovate.


6. Learning and teaching activities

Chapter 6 considers various learning activities commonly used to support student learning and which may be used by library and information workers as part of their face-to-face, blended or online courses or modules. This chapter has sections on presenting basic ideas, common learning and teaching activities, assessment of learning and reflection on learning. Activities involving the use of different technologies are considered as are more traditional methods, which require limited or no use of technology. Increasingly, library and information workers provide learning support to students using a diverse range of tools and without taught sessions; this topic is covered at the end of this chapter.


7. Making it happen

Chapters 7 and 8 are concerned with the design of student learning and teaching activities and events. Chapter 7 looks at the principles of course or session design, starting with a section on thinking about student learners. This is followed by a section on basic design principles including the use of aims and outcomes. Bloom’s taxonomy is used to demonstrate how to identify particular levels of learning and this is associated with the idea of surface and deep learning. This is followed by sections on the design of individual learning activities, finding and using learning resources, and reviewing the programme design. The chapter concludes with a short section on marketing and promotion.


8. Designing face-to-face, blended and online courses

Chapter 8 gives practical examples of the application of design ideas introduced in Chapter 7. It is concerned with face-to-face sessions and flipped classroom sessions, designing blended learning courses, and designing online courses.


9. Delivering learning experiences

Chapter 9 provides guidance on delivering learning experiences face to face or online. It covers the following themes: preparing yourself, face-to-face delivery, online delivery and co-facilitation. The chapter considers different stages in the delivery process: preparing for the event or course, getting off to a good start, facilitating the learning processes, and ending the event or course.


10. Evaluation of learning and teaching activities and courses

Chapter 10 is concerned with evaluation and starts with a brief overview of the UK quality control and enhancement processes, led by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) in the UK. These processes, or similar ones in other countries, are very relevant to library and information workers who are delivering learning and teaching activities that are part of an assessed and credit-bearing module or course. The main part of the chapter is concerned with the evaluation of the impact of learning and teaching activities and includes a summary of the research findings of Schilling and Applegate (2012), which provides an insight into the distinctions when measuring student attitudes, learning and behaviours. This is followed by a section on practical approaches to evaluation, which covers a wide range of methods from student assignments through to tests. It includes a number of case studies that demonstrate the value of using a combination of tools when evaluating these interventions.


11. Lifelong professional development

The final chapter explores different approaches to keeping up to date and developing one’s professional profile. This is particularly important given the rapidly changing environment and the increased emphasis on online networking as a form of professional development. This chapter considers the following topics: networking through professional organizations; learning in the workplace; accredited courses; short courses, conferences and workshops; independent learning; developing online networks; and managing the short term immediate needs and longer term career planning of individual professional development.


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