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Bringing learning and research together through inquiry-based learning

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									Evaluating learning space
design: a ‘theory of
change’ perspective
SCONUL Working Group on Space
Winter Seminar 3rd December 2010

Philippa Levy

Information School
University of Sheffield
 Overview
• Context
• ToC evaluation
  framework
• Using the framework
• Benefits and
  challenges
• Future directions
Evaluating learning spaces
• Key messages from JELS project:
  • Evaluation is important
  • Focus typically is on usage and
    satisfaction
  • Quantitative measures predominate
  • The relationship between design and
    experiences/outcomes of learning and
    teaching is under-explored (Pearshouse et al
   2009)
CONTEXT
modelling the process of research within the student learning experience
  Inquiry-based
  learning students engaging in an inquiry
• Designed around
  process
• Emphasises students’ capacity to create their own
  knowledge
   • investigating authentic - often open-ended -
     questions or themes
   • adopting the practices of scholarship or research
     of their disciplines or professional area
   • exploring a knowledge-base actively and
     potentially contributing new knowledge to it
  Inquiry-based learning
• Encourages peer-to-peer collaboration, and
  partnership amongst students and staff
• Provides support for inquiry in the form of
  activities, assessments, resources, facilitation,
  environments
• Provides guidance on relevant inquiry methods,
  including how to frame good questions
• Provides support for development of information
  literacy, critical thinking, self-reflection and other
  capabilities associated with productive inquiry
• Creates opportunities for students to share the
  results of their inquiries with peers and others
  CILASS IBL framework
• Collaborative inquiry
  and inquiry communities
• Information literacy
  development
• Networked learning
• Interdisciplinary inquiry
• Classrooms as research
  environments
  (‘collaboratories’)
                40 students

                fixed collaborative
                workstations

                3 breakout rooms

                display connectivity

                huddleboards, copycams

                interactive whiteboard

                seamless access to IC
Collaboratory   resources
                  36 students

                  flexible tables

                  laptops and tablets

                  huddleboard and
                  copycam

                  interactive whiteboard

                  videoconferencing
                  (AGN)

                  ‘write-on’ wallpaper

                  seamless access to IC
Collaboratory 2   resources
Further CILASS spaces
                        14




Further CILASS spaces
  Over-arching questions for
  evaluation/research
• Do the design and technology features of the
  spaces benefit the practice and development
  of IBL in anticipated (and unanticipated)
  ways? [evaluation]
• What is the impact of the design of the
  spaces and their technologies on inquiry
  learning experiences and outcomes, and on
  the development of IBL practice? [research]
THEORY OF CHANGE
FRAMEWORK
 The approach
• Embedded into change initiative from start
• Focused on impact, but process- as well as
  outcome-oriented
• Based on ideas and beliefs of stakeholders
  about how change will occur
• Developmental rather than audit driven
• Allows for exploration of unanticipated
  outcomes
• Establishing ‘theory’ about how change
  occurs identifies evaluation indicators
  (questions) and leaves choice of data
A ‘theory’ of change, using EPO indicators
  Establishing the ‘theory’
• Backward mapping to establish a causal
  narrative
• “To achieve desired impact, outcomes need
  to be x, y and z; to achieve these outcomes,
  processes a, b and c need to happen; to
  carry out a, b and c, resources and enabling
  factors d, e and f are required”
• Three types of evaluation indicator -
  enabling, process, outcomes - with
  underlying beliefs and values about key
  factors in how change will occur
• Where are we now? (current
  situation)
• Where do we aim to be in X years’
  time? (desired outcomes)
• What do we need to do to get
  there? (activities, processes)
• What resources and enablers do
  we need to do these things?
                                   Constructing and
                                   representing a ToC
                                   narrative
                   Drivers for Change      Resources              Activities          Desirable Outcomes     Anticipated Impact



                   Current situation (at   Needed to facilitate   Needed to achieve   Needed to achieve      What will be different
                   outset)                 activities             outcomes            impacts                in the future as a result
                                                                                                             of the project?
                                                                                      e.g. For students
                                                                                             staff
                                                                                                Library
                                                                                                university




                                           (enabling factors)     (process factors)   (outcome factors)      (outcome factors)




Order approached               1                        4                      3                  2                      5
             Evaluation
             process

 ToC &
Evaluation
  Plan

                    Data
                Collection &
                 Analysis


                               Reporting &
                               Disseminatio
                                    n
Evaluation plan (questions,
data, methods)
• Outcome questions; Process questions;
  Resource questions
• Data: quantitative; qualitative
• Methods: analysis of system data;
  questionnaire survey; interviews;
  focus groups; observations; diaries;
  etc. incl. use of web 2.0 tools
USING THE FRAMWORK
CILASS
• A common framework - applied at
  programme and project levels
• A means to explore and assess impact
  of whole CILASS programme
• Intended to support critical inquiry and
  reflection on practice
• Included a focus on role of
  collaboratories in enhancing student
  experience and performance, and the
  development of IBL
Programme level ToC: learning
spaces
Resources and             Activities and              Desired Outcomes
Enablers                  Processes
Stimulus and support for Staff and students           Learning and teaching at
IBL projects and         engage in IBL                UoS are enhanced
programmes               development,
                         experimentation &
                         innovation

“Provision & promotion    “Staff use new spaces &     “The benefits of new
of new central learning   technologies in their IBL   spaces & technologies
spaces & technologies,    teaching, & develop         for learning & teaching
and user support”         skills in using them”       are such that there is
                                                      intensive use &
                                                      demand”
            Scope
• Questionnaires and interviews with
  students and staff
• Emerging themes:
  • Student satisfaction
  • Student learning
  • Information literacy development
  • Learning-teaching relationships
  • Educational reflection and
    experimentation
  • User support
                     Students say…
                   • “CILASS room fantastic -
                     technology here was
                     really great, made it far
What’s valued?       more interesting than
                     other seminars”
 •   Flexibility   • “Learning has finally
 •   Technology      come into the 21st
                     century! The new
 •   Informality     technology has opened
                     my eyes to exciting new
 •   Intimacy        ways to examine literary
                     texts”
 •   Openness
                         Staff say…
 •   Movement      • “The perfect opportunity
 •   Freedom         to get students working
                     with research materials”
 •   Intensity
                   • “Inviting, technologically
 •   Flow            advanced and perfect for
                     group-work”
Information literacy
development
• “It’s enabled me to really get to see what
  the students are doing when they’re doing
  their inquiry, rather than it’s sort of
  happening all outside the classroom when
  you’re just not aware of what they’re finding
  difficult or finding easy. So I could see how
  effective their information searching was, I
  could do something about making it better”
 Learning-teaching relationships

• “They’re [students] also much more
  confident, I think, with me. It changed the
  nature of the relationship between myself
  and the students, I’m much more one of the
  group and they treat me much more as one
  of the group rather than the lecturer. In
  these new spaces, I’m a researcher like
  them”
 Educational reflection and
 experimentation
• [I really like] the opportunity to use the CILASS
  space and rethink the pedagogy, I’ve made a
  number of changes that make the course much more
  inquiry-based


• It’s made me think about inquiry-based learning;
  [the spaces] allow you to think flexibly so I’ve been
  doing teaching that I never would have done in a
  normal seminar room
           Information
           Commons
• Masters dissertation research (Dr
  Katie Fraser)
• Exploring wider applicability of ToC
  evaluation (to IC)
• Focus on desired outcomes (students
  should be empowered to study in a
  range of ways)
• Key questions: how do students view
  and use multiple spaces? how does
  space design influence perception and
  use?
Scope
• Established retrospective ToC
  narrative with relevant staff -
  constructed basic ToC
• Ethnographic interviews with students
  (student-led IC tours)
• To what extent is the ‘theory’ borne
  out?
                           Psychologically
                           Central


             Unknown to the                  Known to the
             majority, central               majority, central
             to the student                  to the student

Physically                                                  Physically
Peripheral                                                  Central

             Unknown to the                  Known to the
             majority,                       majority,
             peripheral to the               peripheral to the
             student                         student
                            Psychologically
                            Peripheral
BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES
              Benefits
• Appropriate for evaluating role of learning
  spaces in educational enhancement
• Facilitates systematic evaluation planning
• Encourages embedded, developmental
  evaluation
• Can be used retrospectively if necessary
• Encourages focus on qualitative indicators,
  accommodating mixed methods
• Allows for adjustment of ‘theory’ in light of
  findings, to inform on-going and future
  initiatives
         Challenges

• Resources, capacity, expertise
• Practical logistics of participatory
  approach (an inclusive ‘theory’ not
  just a Library ‘theory?)
           Future potential?

• Using ToC framework as tool for
  information specialists to engage with
  learning and teaching evaluation
• Transferability/adaptation of a
  ‘generic’ Library learning spaces ToC
  from one context to another
• Development of a ToC toolkit for the
  Library learning spaces community
Follow-up resources
• Guidance for CILASS project-leaders
• CILASS Programme ToC
http://www.shef.ac.uk/ibl

								
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