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A New Approach to Professional Learning for Academics Teaching in Next Generation Learning Spaces

The Future of Learning and Teaching in Next Generation Learning Spaces

ISBN: 978-1-78350-986-7, eISBN: 978-1-78350-985-0

ISSN: 1479-3628

Publication date: 25 July 2014

Abstract

The promise of Next Generation Learning Spaces appears to remain unfulfilled. This chapter explores why and how the design of professional learning for academics teaching in such spaces can and should be transformed. It takes a fresh look at why old professional development is failing and proposes a new way to engage academics in their own professional learning. Rather than continuing with traditional professional development that is most often, ad hoc, formal and centrally driven, comprising mandated professional development workshops and a website that may only be visited once, the chapter explores the move from ‘old’ professional development to ‘new’ professional learning. It draws on the fields of organisational theory, cognitive theory and behavioural economics.

New professional learning is characterised by a ‘pull’ rather than a ‘push’ philosophy. Academic staff themselves drive their own learning, choosing what, when and how they want to learn to become better teachers. Multiple and various learning opportunities embedded in day to day work are just-in-time, self-directed, performance-driven and evaluated within an organisational system. In this way the institutional setting influences behaviour by ‘nudging’ habits and setting defaults resulting in academics making the ‘right’ decisions and doing the ‘right’ thing. By addressing the compelling issue of how to enhance academic staff teaching capability, this chapter can help university leaders to think beyond the professional development approaches of yesterday. Aligning with this new direction will result in enhanced learning and teaching in the future.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching who provided the support for the project: Not a Waste of Space: professional development for staff teaching in Next Generation Learning Spaces, although the views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. We would also like to thank all those involved in the Not a Waste of Space project: Megan McPherson (Project Manager, RMIT University), Sheona Thomson (Queensland University of Technology), A/Professor Kenn Fisher (University of Melbourne), Dr Wesley Imms (University of Melbourne), A/Professor Kym Fraser (Victoria University) and Diana Taylor (Curtin University). In addition, the project team would especially like to thank Dr Emily Koethe, Lauren Ferro and Nick Faulkner for their contribution.

Citation

de la Harpe, B. and Mason, T. (2014), "A New Approach to Professional Learning for Academics Teaching in Next Generation Learning Spaces", The Future of Learning and Teaching in Next Generation Learning Spaces (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 219-239. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-362820140000012015

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited