Learning to assess in higher education: a collaborative exploration of the interplay of 'formal' and 'informal' learning in the academic workplace

Nicola Reimann, Kerry Harman, Angelina Wilson, Liz McDowell

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

During 2005 to 2010 74 Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) were funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). As the name suggests, the aim of the CETL initiative was to reward and develop expertise in teaching and learning linked to particular areas of excellence. The CETL where the authors of this paper worked focused on developing Assessment for Learning (AfL) practices (McDowell et al., 2008). The paper discusses the findings from three research projects undertaken at the CETL which can be grouped under the broad theme of the exploration of assessment practices and academic development.However, while we are all interested in the ways academics learn to assess, the disciplinary/research backgrounds and theoretical assumptions we bring to our respective projects are quite different. Hodkinson and Macleod (2010) discuss conceptualisations of learning by referring to metaphors which are commonly used ‘when learning is thought about’ (p.174): learning as acquisition, as participation, as construction, as formation and as becoming. They argue that each metaphor assumes particular approaches to understanding and researching learning, and this also applies to the projects drawn on for this paper. The projects which have generated the data considered in this paper are, on the one hand, underpinned and informed by different conceptualisations of learning, bodies of literature and methodologies. On the other hand, the institutional context within which the data were collected and the data collection methods, i.e. semi-structured interviews, are the same. This paper also explores the benefits and challenges of working collaboratively on HE research questions from different theoretical perspectives. We would like to argue that that using data generated by all three projects is a legitimate, albeit unusual, way of advancing our understanding of learning in the academic workplace since it allows us to focus on the interface between informal and formal learning rather than discussing one type of learning at the expense of the other.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
EventQuestioning Theory- Method Relations in Higher Education Research: Higher Education Close Up 5 Conference - Lancaster University, Lancaster
Duration: 1 Jul 2010 → …
http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/events/hecu5/index.htm

Conference

ConferenceQuestioning Theory- Method Relations in Higher Education Research: Higher Education Close Up 5 Conference
Period1/07/10 → …
Internet address

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