Social innovation education: towards a framework for learning design

Bethany Alden Rivers (The Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK)
Alejandro Armellini (The Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK)
Rachel Maxwell (The Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK)
Sue Allen (Student and Academic Services, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK)
Chris Durkin (School of Social Sciences, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Publication date: 9 November 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a theoretical framework to support the embedding of social innovation education in existing academic programmes.

Design/methodology/approach

By adopting Conole et al.’s (2004) methodological approach to reviewing, mapping and modelling learning theory, this study addresses four research questions: how can social innovation education be defined? Which learning theories best support social innovation education? How do such learning theories relate to existing models of learning in higher education? What implications does a social innovation pedagogy have for learning design?

Findings

Findings suggest that social innovation education is supported by a praxis that is grounded in critical learning theory, transformational learning theory and epistemological development. By extending Conole et al.’s (2004) model of learning theory, the present study proposes a “zone of pedagogical praxis for social innovation education” that supports learning design on a more critical plane.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed model of learning may be of interest to other universities as they work towards stronger thinkers and stronger communities.

Practical implications

Using a theory-informed model for learning design nurtures a pedagogical praxis and underpins the development of a practical toolkit for designing social innovation education.

Originality/value

The findings of this study will provide a point of reference for other higher education institutions as they look for guidance on embedding principles of social innovation into their curricula.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The Curriculum Enhancement for Employability and Social Innovation (CEESI) project is funded by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) as part of its Strategic Enhancement Programme. The authors are grateful to the HEA, Maureen Tibby (of the HEA), and the University of Northampton ' s: Learning Design Team, Students ' Union and Changemaker Core Group, for their continued support of this project. The authors wish to thank Professor Grainne Conole for permission to reproduce and adapt the learning model from Conole et al. (2004).

Citation

Alden Rivers, B., Armellini, A., Maxwell, R., Allen, S. and Durkin, C. (2015), "Social innovation education: towards a framework for learning design", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 383-400. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-04-2015-0026

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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