Learning Power

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					   ELLI Research & Development Workshop
   Charles Darwin University 30th July 2009

  Learning Power
Engaging learners in reflection

      strategies for change

 The Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory
               (ELLI) Project

  Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol
“In times of change learners
inherit the earth, while the
learned find themselves
beautifully equipped to deal
with a world that no longer
                   Eric Hoffer
 Double Helix of Learning
 (McGettrick 2002)


                            Skills and

Development Values,
Key questions

   What are the qualities and
    characteristics of successful learners?

   How can we develop assessment
    strategies which strengthen these

   How do we help learners to engage
    their life story, lifeworlds and
    communities in their learning?
Four stations in the learning
Self                                            Competent
             Personal qualities
Identity     Dispositions                       Competent
Desire       Attitudes          Skills          learner
Motivation   Values             Knowledge       citizen
Story                           Understanding   mathematician
Lifeworld                                       Artisan etc

Personal                                        Public
    Seven Dimensions of
    Learning Power
   Changing and learning*      Being stuck & static
   Meaning making*             Data accumulation
   Critical curiosity*         Passivity
   Creativity                  Being rule bound
   Learning relationships      Isolation &
   Strategic awareness         Being robotic
   Resilience                  Fragility and
Changing and learning v
being stuck & static
     “I see learning as something I can get
 better at, and myself as an improving
 learner. This often reflects a more general
 interest in „self-improvement‟, and faith that
 this is possible. I have a sense of history
 and of hope. I tend to take ownership of
 my own learning, and like to be responsible
 for what I‟m learning and how I go about it.
 I‟m usually quite ready to „sign up‟ to
 learning tasks that are presented to me”
Critical curiosity
v passivity
“I like to get below the surface of things and see
what is really going on. I like to work things out
for myself, and to ask my own questions. I tend
to go looking for things to understand better,
rather than just responding to problems that
come my way. I am usually excited by the
prospect of learning, and have a good deal of
energy for learning tasks and situations. In
general, I‟m attracted to learning and enjoy a
challenge. I value getting at the truth.”
Meaning making v Data
“I tend to look for patterns,
connections and coherence in what I am
learning, and to seek links between new
situations and what I already know or am
interested in. I‟m on the look-out for
„horizontal meaning‟ I like to make sense of
new things in terms of my own experience,
and I like learning about what matters
to me.”

   Or „springboard zone.‟
   Thinking around things
   Coming up with new
    ideas, sometimes a bit
   Trusting your hunches

         Or „gritty zone‟!
         Not giving up,
          even if it‟s tough
    – Spirals high in the sky to look
      for prey
    – Patient, strategic, smart,
      stealthy, big, strong and
    – Uses aerodynamics

    – Work together
    – Each have a different job,
      scout and travel
    – Can predict rain
     The power of narrative!
“They marvelled at the way everything came together through
their combined gifts: Willy Wagtail’s creativity, when he came up
with new and surprising ideas; Emu’s curiosity, to question every
detail and check it out; Platypus’s meaning making, to make sure
that every part of the plan fitted together and made sense and
Echidna’s resilience, to keep them going even though it was late
and most of them were tempted at least once or twice just to let
their eyes close and nod off to sleep. The ants moved amongst
them, encouraging them all to listen and learn together. The
Eagle spoke only occasionally: her planning had brought them
together in the first place…”
                                              Type One ELLI
                         Changing and             Profile


            Creativity                  Resilience
                                           Type Two ELLI
                         Changing and         Profile
Curiosity                                       Learning


            Creativity             Resilience
                    Changing and          ELLI Profile
Critical              learning


       Creativity                  Resilience
ELLI profiles shown as bar
ELLI profiles shown as pie
Pre- profiles:
Mar/Apr ‘05






                                                                                      Mean = 66.3768
                                                                                      Std. Dev. = 15.92829
                              0                                                       N = 184
                                  20.00   40.00     60.00            80.00   100.00

Post- profiles:
’06                           40


Up by 5.3261                  20


                                                                                       Mean = 71.7029
                                                                                       Std. Dev. = 16.74477
                               0                                                       N = 184
                                   20.00   40.00     60.00            80.00   100.00

Some quantitative findings:

  N = 6045   Study 1   Schools = 116

Learning Power
seems to get weaker and
more fragile as children go
through school
     An ‘ecology’ of learning
     (studies 2 and 5)

    Learning power is
    positively associated with   N=851
                                 Age   9 – 14
   Attainment - some
    predictive power             6 schools 2003 -4
   What teachers do AND
    what they believe
   Emotional literacy
   Learner centred practices    Age 16-19
    – Students‟ perceptions
                                 3 sixth form centres
   Values
   Citizenship
Learning power and
underachieving students
N=1000 Age 14
   Changing and Learning         .003
   Meaning Making                .002
   Critical Curiosity            .001
   Creativity                    .345
   Learning relationships        .691
   Strategic awareness           .011
   Fragility and dependence      .099
    Tentative findings….
   Underachievers are characterised by:
    – Passivity in learning dispositions
    – Accepting things at face value
    – Lacking strategic awareness – of thinking,
      feeling and planning/doing
    – Not looking for meaning and sense making in
      their learning
    – Being „stuck and static‟ in their sense of
      themselves as learners.
    – Being unable to „tell their story‟
Qualitative Evidence:
messages from school and other projects
Qualitative findings about
the impact of ELLI:
• Acquiring a language „with which to name the world‟
• Ideas that „span and link‟ across pastoral/subject/
sector/cultural/organisational boundaries
• A greater sense of agency and self-awareness in
• Teachers feeling less „depended upon‟
• Links with relationships, attitudes, behaviour
• Illuminates issues for leadership and change
Developing a language with
which to ‘name’ the world
            Malaysian Sixth-formers
            (Study 7 – Learning Outside the Box)
…my changing and learning area had increased
tremendously simply because I can now study in
the presence of my friends. This has also
improved my learning relationships area.
My creativity has increased considerably.
My critical curiosity has also increased. I realised
that I began to feel unsatisfied with the answer
given to me.
Strategic awareness increased by about 25%. I
recorded all my daily achievements and
performances for future reference.”
Spanning and Linking
Study 14 – ‘The Learning Agents’
(first year secondary)

   The Seven Dimensions are helpful because
    they flow across subjects and they all link
   I‟m much better at organisation skills,
    homework and planning time at the stables
   I find I now relate to other things I know.
    I linked history and science by meaning
   It gives you life skills, helps connect lessons
Spanning and Linking
Study 9 – ‘The Outdoor Dimension’
(first year secondary)

• It‟s life skills that help you in all of your life…
 (a student – Parkview School)

• I don‟t think I realised how much impact it‟s
 had on their lives!
 (a teacher).
Applies to HE as well as schools:
messages from 14 universities’ project
(Study 8)
Key themes emerging from trialling ELLI in variety
of Higher Education settings include its usefulness
in relation to:

  •engagement in reflection
  •managing transitions:
     International students – cross-
     from school to university
     from university to work
  -how to do Personal Development
  -improving learning and teaching
Agency and self-awareness
Listen to the voices of learners!
The Learning Agents!
(Study 14 – first year secondary)

   I have clear targets and I can set
    myself ones now
   Even if teachers don‟t tell you to, you
    can still use it to help with your work
   I used to leave homework till the last
    minute, now I do a piece every day
    and plan ahead
   Now I plan everything!
The Learning Engineers:
(Study 13 -Primary schools in Bristol –Years 1 & 5)
Teachers feeling less depended
   they have become more responsible and
    independent learners, using strategic awareness,
    thinking of the next steps for themselves –
    helping the teacher to become more of a
    facilitator, not them depending on you
   We can see a tangible difference in the children‟s
    attitudes, that they are seeing school as being
    more than a place where you are told what to do
   Children are more motivated….now all children
    turn up for SATS whereas in the past there were
    several who didn't because they were afraid to
    be found out
Building self-efficacy:

   Their self-esteem (is improved) – they‟re ready
    to give it a go
   “It‟s OK to find things hard because we know we
    can get better!” Part of the classroom culture is:
    “If I‟m stuck, I can…!”
   The children are becoming a lot more confident
    in recognising their strengths – competent too!
Building self-efficacy:
Study 9 – ‘The Outdoor Dimension’
(first year secondary)

• “Kids are thinking „How do I learn?‟ and
  „What do I need to do?‟ “ (a tutor)
• “It has increased their awareness …“(a
• “For instance, I plan my homework, see
  how long it‟s going to take, how many
  questions there are etc…” (a student)
• “I‟ve started to put my hand up and ask
  questions a lot more.
Learners choosing change
Kolej Yayasan UEM – a Sixth Form
College in central Malaysia
           Learning Outside the Box
           (Malaysian 6th form: Study 7)

I have become more analytical and more conscious of
the events happening around me. It excites me
when I can fit the pieces of the puzzle together and
understand the meaning …”
               Attitudes to learning,
               improved relationships
“The increase in “Learning Relationships” is a
result of having improved in my communication
and teamwork skills… expressing my thoughts,
ideas and opinions whilst…being mindful of
what the others think…

Contrary to being quite rigid in my learning
patterns previously…I (have) a slightly more
creative approach…I feel that active
participation in class has nurtured my ability to,
as it were, think outside the box”
Relationships and behaviour:
Do you see a difference in other people
in the class?
• C has improved in his reactions – he is learning to control
his feelings, not throwing things around the table – now he
hardly ever does it – it used to really bug us (Samantha)

• D always used to sit like that (slouched in chair) doing
nothing! He used to sit like that for ½ hour doing the title! –
now he just gets on with it (Sam)

• J – he’s improved so much – he never used to say anything or show
any interest and now he’s amazing, he’s always asking questions

• T used to be really quiet – she has improved more, puts up her
hand and says ‘ don’t agree with that!’ (Ashley)

• A – he used to moan and groan and whine ‘why’ and now he’s
completely different – he just does it (Shaun)
 Can we make a difference?
 Study 6: Locked up learning

Young offenders before and after self assessment strategies
                       Danny – a „NEET‟ Learner with
                       profound learning difficulties –
                       targeted Critical Curiosity and
                       Learning Relationships

“I‟veimproved my way of finding out information on certain
I‟ve got a new way of learning. I have questions, and I scan and
pick out the things I need.
You have to take a leap of faith!
It‟s opened my eyes quite a bit to learn how to do these things
…that astrophysicist has invited me to his next call-out with
telescopes and to a lecture
        So I‟ll go on learning!
        And it‟s changed what I think I can do.

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