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					Bridges over troubled waters –
 facilitating engaged learning
  By Gerda Mischke and Paul Prinsloo
Programme
• Welcome by Dr Willa Louw,
 Coordinator: Learning development (ICLD)
• Paul Prinsloo & Gerda Mischke
• Questions and Discussion
• Closure
Looking for bridges….

Higher education
Institution, educator   Learner
Open and Distance
Learning
Different types of bridges….
Looking for bridges….

Higher education
Institution, educator   Learner
Open and Distance
Learning
 The background of this
 discussion...
• The active student debate
• Deep learning versus rote learning
• The throughput paradox
• The autonomous and self-directed learner
• The need for authenticity and relevance
Why worry about
Engagement?
Research indicates that the more
engaged the learner is, the bigger the
chances of his or her success in the
module.
• An exploration of student failure on an
undergraduate accounting programme of study
(Gracia & Jenkins 2002).

• The influence of active learning experiences on
the development of graduate capabilities (Kember
& Leung 2005).
Some ways in which we facilitate
engagement…

• Lists of outcomes
• Activities
• Self-evaluation
• Assignments
• Work Integrated Learning

    … but are the students engaged?
New perspectives on engaged
learning...
• Andragogy (Adult learning)
• Neurobiology and psychoanalysis

• Transformative teaching

• Lifelong and life-wide learning

• Whole-person teaching and learning
Andragogy (Adult learning)
• Adults need to know why they need to learn
something.
• Adults need to learn experientially.
• Adults approach learning as problem-solving.
• Adults learn best when the topic is of immediate
value.
• Adults bring prior experience and beliefs into
the learning experience (Merriam 2001).
Neurobiology
• Emotions are indispensable for rationality
(Dirkx 2001; Yorks & Kasl 2002).
• A lot of learning takes place outside
cognitive processing (Taylor 2001).
• Change in perspective happens through a
combination of emotions, cognitive thoughts and
the unconscious (Dirkx 2001).
Neurobiology (cont)

• Rote learning leads to inflexible knowledge.

• Learners cannot apply competencies to
new situations, or deal with complex issues
and diversity (Taylor 2001).
Transformative teaching
• Changing perspectives start with “disorienting
dilemmas” (Mezirow 2003).
• The learner should be allowed to discover what
they already know, believe and can do (Rieber &
Robinson 2004).
• Whole-person learning requires that critical
reflection and affective learning are integrated into
the main learning experience (not added on) (Yorks
& Kasl 2002).
Transformative teaching (cont)

• For real transformation to take place, there is a
need for learning to take place in a “safe, open, and
trusting environment” (Kovan & Dirkx 2003).

• They discover what they don‟t know in
communities that care (Kovan & Dirkx 2003).

• Instead of individualisation, individuation is
facilitated (Glastra et al 2004).
Lifelong and life-wide learning
  • Certification should not be the only goal, but
  being competent human beings in an
  uncertain and risk society (Glastra et al 2004).

 • Adults need to deal with the “pathologies
 that mobility may entail” (Glastra et al 2004).
 Lifelong learning …(cont)

• The amount of choices learners face, leads
to a “tyranny of choice” (Beck 2001).
• Learners are no longer sure of the
preconditions of the choices they make, nor
can they predict the consequences.
• They must choose and will be held
responsible for their choices (Glastra et al
2004).
 Lifelong learning …(cont)
• Not only skills and “just-in-time” driven, but
should allow learners to live their “unlived lives”
(Kovan & Dirkx 2003).
• Lifelong learning as transitional learning
(Glastra et al 2004).
          Critical social analysis, dealing with
          diversity, learning about boundaries
          and membership.
New perspectives on engaged
learning... (revisited)
• Andragogy (Adult learning)
• Neurobiology and psychoanalysis

• Transformative teaching

• Lifelong and life-wide learning

• Whole-person teaching and learning
With this as a background,
we understand the need for
engaging learners … but

        How?
Layers of learner-engagement
 • with the text
 • with him or herself
 • with his or her peers
 • in his or her community
 • with the discourse of the subject
 • with the Institution
 • with the educator
Engaging learners in
knowledge construction –
different perspectives…

   Fads or facts?
Critical perspectives

Consider how power is sustained and
reinforced and how the development of
independent, critical thinking gets
undermined in the process (Welton 1995).
Constructivist perspective
Consider learning as a negotiated, social
process – students are seen as co-owners
of the knowledge construction process and
self awareness is promoted
(Honebein 1996).
Post modern perspectives
Perceive the knowledge construction
process as a multi-faceted, tentative one
which involves a consideration of multiple
perspectives and a negotiated consensus on
what is „fact‟ (Kilgore 2001).
Psycho analytical perspectives
Depart from the notion of „whole person
learning‟ – the view is held that successful
learning can only occur if all four modes of
human psyche are addressed (affective,
imaginal, cognitive, practical)
 (Yorks & Kasl 2002).
Points of agreement
• Knowledge is socially constructed, it takes form
in the eyes of the knower rather than being
acquired from an existing reality.

• Power is a major force in the knowledge
construction process, to have power is to have
knowledge and visa versa.
Points of agreement (cont)

• Knowledge (and thus power) is multifaceted and
tentative

• New knowledge is constructed (learning takes
place) in contexts where people are acknowledged
as individuals with emotion, imagination, intellect,
and physical ability.
What are the
implications?
Power is a major force in the knowledge
construction process, to have power is to have
knowledge and visa versa.
Possible bridge:
• Empower students, let them: calculate, check,
conclude, demonstrate, discover, establish,
estimate, experience, find, indicate, prove, reason,
recall, reflect, reveal, show.
•Cut down on letting them: accept, believe,
consider, know, note, understand, perceive,
realize, remember, suppose.
Knowledge is constructed (learning takes
place) in contexts where people are
acknowledged as individuals with emotion,
creativity, intellect, and activity.

Possible bridge:
•Consider the principles of whole person
learning.
            Practical

        Conceptual

    P e r c e p t u a l

A   f   f   e   c   t   i   v   e
      Inclusion of affect #@!?
All cognition, because it is embodied, is
necessarily also affective. We do not think
without feeling. When a kind of thinking is a
good-feeling, we tend to become good at
doing it; and when it feels bad to us, we
dither, defer, get distracted, and reject it.
(Goodwin 2000).
„Recent research not only provides
support that emotions can affect the
processes of reason, but more
importantly, emotions have been found
to be indispensable for rationality to
occur‟ (Taylor 2001:218).
           Engaged student
Affective engagement
• How do you feel about these groups or sectors of
society?
• If you feel unsure, don‟t panic, just go through …
• What did you find useful …
• You might find this chapter rather boring,
however …
• What do I do if I don't like accounting?
• It's not as difficult as you imagine.
            Engaged student
Perceptual engagement
• Now we want all your attention – imagine a world
without poets [accountants, teachers …], what
would the implications be?
• How would you interpret this situation in your
culture?
• What do you think is the glue that holds our
community [roman law, Christianity …] together?
• Graphics.
            Engaged student
Conceptual engagement

• First of all you need to decide how you are going
to indicate each value.

• Demonstrate to yourself that you understand …
by completing the following flow chart …
            Engaged student
Conceptual engagement (cont)
• It is really important that you establish if your
conclusions are valid. Do it by comparing …
• You should regularly consider the impact of
advertisements by asking yourself:
(a) At what age group are they pitched?
(b) What market sector do they address?
(c) What language features are used?
            Engaged student
Practical engagement

We would like you to discover for yourself that food
    has social, religious and economic value.
(a) Ask your father if he‟s ever attended a wedding
    where no food was served.
(b) Ask a Muslim friend …
(c) Ask your friend how much she or he budgets
    for food?
            Engaged student
Practical engagement (cont)

• After having considered our suggestions, re-write
your CV [report, summary … ]

• Share your perspectives on … a person older
than sixty. Then ask that person for his or her
opinion about it.
 Deconstructing butterflies…
•Through consciousness raising, students come to
see the world and their place in it differently.
•„Disorientating dilemma‟ – people realize
something is not consistent with what they hold to
be true.
•Students look to education to help them make
sense of lives whose fabric of meaning has gone
frayed (Baumgartner 2001).
 Transform

Engaged learners


   Pass
Implication of whole person
 engagement: Praxis cycle
    2. Whole-person,
    whole situation
    analysis
                     3. Rich and diverse
 1. Immersion       learning environments

    5. Reflection
                       4. Authenticate
                       the learning
Acknowledgements
No learning takes place in a vacuum. We both
have learned so much from the Unisa community
and specifically our colleagues at the Institute for
Curriculum and Learning Development (ICLD) at
Unisa.
We celebrate the impact you had and has on our
learning.
Articles
We have electronic copies of many of the articles
in the Bibliography. Should you wish us to send
you a copy, please feel free to contact us.
           Thank you!
Gerda Mischke
Institute for Curriculum and Learning Development
(ICLD), UNISA
012-429 8208 mischge@unisa.ac.za
Paul Prinsloo
Institute for Curriculum and Learning Development
(ICLD), UNISA
012-429 3683    prinsp@unisa.ac.za
References and recommended reading
Ardicvill, A.2003. Constructing socially situated learning experiences in
human resource development: an activity theory perspective. Human
Resource development International, 6(1):5-20.
Baumgartner, L.M.2001. An update on transformational learning, in
Merriam, S.B, New directions for adult and continuing education:
15-24.
Beck, U.2001. Living your own life in a runaway world: individualization,
globalization and politics. In Hutton, W & Giddens, A (Eds), On the
edge: living with global capitalism. London: Vintage: 164-174
Biesta, G.2004. The community of those who have nothing in common:
education and the language of responsibility. Interchange, 35(2)1-16.
Dirkx, J.M. 2001. The power of feelings: emotion, imagination, and the
construction of meaning, in Merriam, S.B. New directions for adult and
continuing education: 63-72.
Doll, W.E. 1986. Prigogine: a new sense of order, a new curriculum.
Theory into Practice, 25(1):10-16.
Dubouloy, M. 2004. The transitional space and self-recovery: a
psychoanalytical approach to high-potential managers‟ training. Human
Relations 57(4):467-496.
Glastra, F.J, Hake, B.J & Schedler, P.E. 2004. Lifelong learning as
transitional learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 54(4):291-307.
Goodwin, C. 2000. Action and embodiment within situated human
interaction. Journal of Pragmatics 32 (10): 1489 - 1522.
Gracia, L & Jenkins, E. 2002. An exploration of student failure on an
undergraduate accounting programme of study. Accounting
Education 11(1):93-107.
Honebein, P.C. 1996. „Seven Goals for the Design of Constructivist Learning
Environments‟, in Wilson, B.G. (ed.), Constructivist Learning Environments:
Case Studies in Instructional Design, pp. 11-24. Englewood Cliffs, New
Jersey: Educational Technology Publications.
Kember, D & Leung, D.Y.P. 2005. The influence of active learning
experiences on the development of graduate capabilities. Studies in
Higher Education, 30(2):155-170
Kilgore, W. 2001. „Critical and Postmodern Perspectives on Adult
Learning‟, pp 53-61, in S.B. Merriam (ed.), The New update to Adult
Learning Theory, Number 89. Jossey Bass..
Kovan, J.K & Dirkx, J.M. 2003. “Being called awake”: the role of
transformative learning in the lives of environmental activists. Adult
Education Quarterly, 53(2):99-118.
Merriam, S.B. 2001. Andragogy and self-directed learning, in Merriam, S.B. New
Directions for adult and continuing education, pp3-14.
Mezirow, J.2003. Transformative learning as discourse. Journal of
Transformative Education, 1(1):58-63.
Rieber, R.W & Robinson, D.K. 2004. The essential Vygotsky. New York: Kluwer.
Taylor, E.W. 2001. Transformative learning theory: a neurobiological
perspective of the role of emotions and unconscious ways of knowing.
International Journal of Lifelong Education, 20(3):218-236.
Welton, M. 1995. „The critical turn in adult education theory‟, in M. Welton
(ed.), In defense of the lifeworld, pp 11-38. NY: State University Press.
Yorks, L & Kasl, E. 2002. Toward a theory and practice for whole-person
learning: reconceptualizing experience and the role of affect. Adult
Education Quarterly, 52(3):176-192.

				
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