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Workshops with Rob Phillips, 13-14th March, 2014

Join a growing community at Victoria interested in developing our theory and practice in teaching and learning.

The 2014 L&T Seminar Series will kick off with two half-day workshops, give us an opportunity to meet other staff with shared interests, gain some foundational theory, and explore new research ideas that we will continue to work on during the rest of the year.


Anyone with an interest in teaching and learning is welcome – including all university teaching staff, ITS, academic support, library staff, student support services, and post-graduate students involved in teaching.

Workshop Resources
Abstract of workshops (Word document)

Workshop 1 presentation
Workshop 1 presentation
Workshop 1 handout

Workshop 2 presentation
1-page overview
workbook example

Thursday March 13th (1-4pm), AM101.
Workshop 1. Educational Design of effective university learning environments

This workshop will focus on designing or re-designing a university learning environment to meet the needs of 21st century learners. Through a mixture of presentation and hands-on activities, Rob will encourage participants to reflect on the nature of learning and the characteristics of students entering university via a range of pathways. He will provide a number of lenses through which to view the educational design process, by:

• considering the interactions between teachers, learners and educational designers and learning environments, processes and outcomes
• building on the idea of the ‘aligned curriculum’, starting the design process with desired learning outcomes and appropriate assessment
• designing a learning environment to realize these outcomes, through curriculum design (what to teach), learning design (how to teach it) and technology design (what technologies, if any, can support this learning design) • developing graduate attributes and the ability to learn how to learn

Drawing these ideas together, the presentation component will provide guidance about how to design appropriate learning environments and how to engage students through authentic tasks and innovative use of technology. Rob will demonstrate this through examples from his own practice and that of his colleagues.
In the hands-on component, Rob will assist participants to address real-life teaching problems which concern them. Participants will work in small groups to rethink their learning designs. They will use tools provided by Rob to analyze the educational problem and the nature of their student cohort to develop new solutions to their teaching problems. Participants are encouraged to bring relevant teaching materials and use the workshop to focus on identified teaching and learning problems.
Outcomes may be a concrete plan to resolve a problem, or the development of an agenda to work with others to address a broader issue.

Friday March 14th (0930am - 1230pm), AM103
Workshop 2. Evaluation Research into the effectiveness of university learning environments

This workshop will focus on how to assemble evidence on whether the contemporary, (technology-enhanced) learning environments we develop are supporting students’ learning. It is based on the recent book “Evaluating e-learning: Guiding research and practice”.
Studies of learning environments involve a mixture of evaluation and research and we use the term ‘evaluation research’ to capture this idea. This workshop will discuss evaluation research into university learning in the context of different disciplinary and interdisciplinary research approaches, and critique these approaches.
The workshop will then highlight the designed nature of learning environments and introduce the principle that it is necessary to ensure that the learning environment functions as it was designed, before any solid evidence of its effectiveness can be established. In other words, an effective learning environment is developed through a series of cycles, from establishing needs, to designing that environment, prototyping and trialling it, and finally investigating how students learn from it.

The design of evaluation-research studies should take into account the cyclical nature of learning environment development. Different evaluation-research strategies are appropriate at each stage of the learning environment lifecycle. Using a number of case examples, participants will explore five different forms of evaluation research.
• Baseline analysis – the starting point
• Design evaluation – how good is the design?
• Formative evaluation – how can the learning environment be improved?
• Summative evaluation – how effective is the learning environment?
• Project-management evaluation – how well was the development project managed?
The workshop will use several ‘divide and conquer’ techniques to break down the complexity of designing an evaluation-research plan, assisted by various templates and matrices. The bulk of the workshop will be spent in applying these ideas to develop an evaluation-research plan for the participants’ own learning development projects.
Activities will include presentations, discussion, production of draft evaluation-research plans, and sharing of these drafts.
The workshop will be suitable for any teacher or developer engaged in blended and online learning initiatives in higher education, and interested in evaluation and research into their work. A broad understanding of academic research methods is desirable.
Participants must bring with them documentation associated with an actual or planned blended or online learning project. A significant part of the workshop will be hands-on work on developing a draft plan for evaluation and research into that initiative.

Rob Phillips has worked in higher education learning and teaching since 1992, working with staff from most discipline areas. His expertise includes educational design, e-learning, distance education, educational policy development and academic staff development. He has provided professional development and mentoring for academic staff in the scholarship of learning and teaching, and has chaired university committees on Awards and Citations, Learning and Teaching Spaces and Open Education.
His research interests include evaluation research in e-learning; learning analytics; making creative and innovative use of technology; university policy issues; and project management in educational innovations. Rob has 130 publications, including 60 refereed papers. He has been principal author of two internationally published books “Developer’s guide to interactive multimedia” and “Evaluating e-learning: Guiding research and practice”. He was a member of the management committee of the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology until 2012, and is a member of the Editorial Board of Research in Learning Technology. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Learning Analytics.
He is a life member and past-president (1996-2000) of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia. Rob received a Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council in 2007. He was an executive member of the Australasian Council on Open, Distance and E-learning (ACODE) from 2004-2006 and in 2012.