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LTR220408 LTR08/03/07

Learning Enhancement Strategy – Draft for discussion


Introduction and Context
We are rightly proud of the high quality of the learning experience that we
offer. This is reflected in high retention rates, as well as in the success of our
students in their careers and in gaining external recognition. It is delivered by
dedicated teaching staff, who often draw on their own professional practice.
They are supported by strong teams and systems for student support, for
developing enterprise and employability and for maintaining quality. Also we
have a strong framework to develop this embedded in our mission, our
Strategic Plan, Learning and Teaching Strategy and the emerging Quality
Enhancement Strategy.

The first aim of our Strategic Plan establishes that we aspire to go further and
“become an internationally acknowledged centre of learning excellence which
champions the creative exploitation of digital technologies in design and
communication… [and is] pioneering in its approach to teaching, learning and
applied research.” Our relocation means that we will have a new, purpose
built learning environment in which to meet these challenges and to develop a
learning culture that encourages innovation and enterprise.

Our success will depend on understanding fully what we currently do well and
developing a culture and learning and teaching approach to take this further.
This will mean continuously innovating in response to changes in the creative
industries and in the social and technological context of our learners and staff.

The systems that support Higher education have traditionally focussed on the
assurance of quality and standards. A shift is taking place, which adds an
emphasis on enhancement to this. This is a huge opportunity for us because it
moves from simply ensuring that we are doing things ‘right’ towards
continuously striving to develop and improve learning and teaching practice.

The QAA distinguish between enhancement as the product of ‘good people


with good ideas’ and a coherent and cohesive institutional approach to
supporting this. The Quality team are engaged in further developing our
institutional framework. The Learning Enhancement team has a vital parallel
role in ensuring that the best of our practice is extended and embedded in our
learning culture and in encouraging further purposeful innovation.

Priorities
Our challenge is to embed our mission and aims in the whole range of our
learning and teaching practice. The positive student experience that we
deliver is the result of design, planning and skilled execution. The Learning
Enhancement team can offer support to make this a more valued, ongoing
and proactive process. This includes helping course teams to make greater
use of existing systems such as student feedback, Schemes of Work and
Annual Course Monitoring. Through this we can more fully integrate the
processes of planning and reviewing with those of developing and innovating.

Head of Learning Enhancement & PPD First Circulation 1


LTR220408 LTR08/03/07

We can therefore apply the design processes that are used in the industries
we are connected to, for designing our learning experiences. By doing this we
will improve our process of learning design. Also we can improve how we
represent and share the products of this process with staff and students.

The Learning Enhancement team will foster discussion and help to lead
further development of the pedagogy that underpins this process. While there
are strengths to the pluralism of our pedagogy, a more integrated approach
can help us to become more flexible, effective, and innovative. This includes
fully understanding how we scaffold learning and how we relate models from
professional practice to the form and content of our learning and teaching.

The process of reflective practice is central to the work of successful creative


professionals. It is also well established in pedagogical theory as being
closely related to deeper more meaningful learning, to the integration of
theory and practice and to the ability to creatively identify and solve problems.
It is critically important for an institution that regards our learners as
developing professionals to embrace this. Establishing this as a central aim
can also provide a bridge between the professional practice of staff and their
facilitation of learning and can provide the foundation for innovation and
enterprise. It also means that we can recognise and promote the value of our
pedagogy since it is argued that ‘the learning outcome to be desired from
every student, is that of the reflective practitioner.’ (Barnett, 1992a:198)

All of this will allow more inclusive and personalised approaches to learning
and teaching that encourage independent learning. Also it will provide a focus
to develop how we creatively exploit digital technology in our learning culture.

Aims

1. Promote a coherent pedagogy that bridges the gap between


educational and professional experience.

Extend our shared understanding of technological and social change and use
this to update the content and the form of our learning and teaching.

Develop learning and teaching approaches that support personalised,


learning where collaboration with communities of practice is central.

Highlight what makes our learning experience and graduates stand out in both
educational and professional worlds.

2. Embed reflective practice throughout our learning culture.

Elaborate models of how reflective practice underpins successful learning and


professional practice.

Support staff in modeling reflective professional practice for students and in


applying the same principles to their learning design.

Head of Learning Enhancement & PPD First Circulation 2


LTR220408 LTR08/03/07

Increase the opportunities and incentives for all staff to innovate in their
teaching practice and for them to learn from each other and from outside.

3. Embed the process of learning design into our learning and teaching
practice.

Encourage staff to take a proactive approach to the creative exploitation of


available tools in their teaching practice, especially digital technologies.

Develop themes and models that help us to embed our mission in our learning
and teaching and provide a focus for innovation in learning and teaching.

Apply the creative exploitation of digital and networked technologies to


enhance the whole of the student experience of the institution.

Head of Learning Enhancement & PPD First Circulation 3