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Pedagogical Frameworks

Page history last edited by Richard Pountney 11 years, 10 months ago

Back to main menu for pedagogical frameworks


Note from Richard: these pages are intended to help us think about the statements that we are able to make that describe our modules. They address ways of thinking about the curriculum and pedagogy that are outlined in the literature. They are not prescriptive about what we might consider to be appropriate renderings of our practice. In fact we may object to rendering our practice to description as Dave has started to debate. However, we may have to approach this as part of this project. And these ideas are background to this. Please add your own points using the convention of italics and colour.


[Thanks -- Dave has not denied the need to describe practice. Dave wants to describe that practice using the terms and concepts that we all use to describe everyone else's practice -- in my case good critical sociological ones.  Is the argument that somehow our own practice has escaped the usual social, cultural and ideological constraints? That our teaching has somehow pole-vaulted out of any social location? This IS how I make sense of 'stuff' --see below. I just don't see that the usual liberal-humanist management-ed discourses offer any improvements]


The project has developed a number of propositions that inform the development of the toolkit. These were discussed at the outset (see Project Toolkit). They are re-stated here to prepare a discussion about Pedagogical Frameworks.


Propositions about the framework for the use and re-use of open educational resources


  1. courses are designed as 'sets' of modules (i.e. they have been modularised)
  2. modules (in line with HE convention and practice) are aligned with learning outcomes, and a form of assessment
  3. modules, in practice and delivery, are contextualised and local
  4. the contextualisation of modules involves intent that is often implicit / tacit / invisible - and constructing them to be shared requires this intent to be be re-examined by a) the originator b) future user(s)
  5. the re-use of modules that require strong context might afford (cultural) reproduction rather than a (re)design for learning
  6. stripping away contextual info in modules in order that they might be re-used is problematic in that insufficient structure may remain for others to use


Note from Richard: These propositions are indicative of an intrinsic pragmatism that I feel arises from a compliance with the requirements of this OER project. We have resisted the call to merely 'produce' content by making it clear in our project proposal (by 'our' I mean all of us) that we are evaluating the process of preparing and making materials to be open. However, this does mean that we have to attempt to describe 'stuff' in a way that makes sense to us. We are approaching that problem here.


At the workshop, and in the paired peer review of materials, we debated the issues to do with the sharing and re-use of learning and teaching materials. These were: [colleagues please contribute]


The implications for the project

If we accept that the granular level for this project is the module (see propositions above) we experience several difficulties: 

  • modules are likely to have moments of varying pedagogical activity and tactics (drawing on the Goodyear and Jones model below) - ie the pedagogy is a composite of a number of pedagogical turns and moves - the pattern in the patchwork quilt will be difficult to see
  • [others to be added here]
  • Note from Graham: I always took the requirement for modules on this project to be a matter of measurement (how much material needs to be included and delivered) just as much as an issue pertaining to the coherence of the material. Actually most of the resources naturally break into smaller units such as weeks or sessions (and even sometimes smaller than this. So inevitably, we will need to address any issues that may arise of users (teachers and students) just using one element from a whole module. This might include ensuring that contextual guides (prerequisites, literature, linked assessments) are included. I actually think that defining the module as the unit can be very helpful for other teachers considering using only parts of the materials. They are able to see what collection of materials constitutes a module (weight, depth, scope etc) and can still select out elements they might want to reuse. I think allowing users to pick out just some parts of the module for reuse actually relieves us of a lot of pressure. If we were to expect users only to utlize the whole module, then there would need to be lots of accompanying material to ensure that users knew all that was needed (i.e. all that the original writer knows) in order to run the module.


These propositions and the discussion of the issues leads us towards a schema for developing the toolkit.


 Schema for developing the Toolkit


  • ability to allow 'remix' of materials, or dissagregate
  • feedback facility in 1 or more of the tools - user/contributor, interactive survey aspect
  • The tool(s) will provide a means of:
    • diagnosing practice - from perspective of contributor (requring a vocabulary / guidance to for teachers to interpret practice their own practice)
    • diagnosing practice - from the user perspective, exploring conditions / orientations to re-use (we assume most academic re-users will not want to use 'off-the-shelf' materials)  Note from Graham: I don't agree with the asumption that most academic re-users will not want to use 'off-the-shelf' materials for two reasons. First, it depends on the time the user is looking for resources. If they are just at the stage of writing a new course or of reviewing one then they may well be inclined to re-use without much change any realy good and relevant materials they fine. Second, if the material is granular enough, especially small enough, then small parts could just be incorporated into existing courses/modules where teachers are just undertaking the normal annual 'spring clean'.
    • eliciting rich descriptions from contributors / rich descriptions from user needs, and / or mapping of content elements to descriptions
    • providing guidance on integrating into practice / repertoires


There remains the difficulty of eliciting these rich descriptions and of the essential details that are required to enable others to construct their own. It is suggested that we might approach these descriptions mindful of the models, characteristics and principles of learning that are held by academics, and, having circumscribed these then go on to consider pedagogical frameworks that lend themselves to promote these principles.



Literature on Pedagogical Frameworks


This section examines pedagogical frameworks in order that the project is informed 

Note from Richard: I have chosen one review of the literature here to save time - if this narrows down too much or you wish to take an alternative perspective please insert here 

Goodyear, P & Jones, C (2004) Pedagogical frameworks for DNER (the Distributed National Electronic Resource), Deliverable DC1, EDNER Project. Lancaster: Centre for Studies in Advanced Learning Technology, Lancaster University

(online at www.cerlim.ac.uk/edner/dissem/dc1.doc)


See in particular Section 2 (pages 12-37) but check also the references (p.48) and the Recommended Reading (p.54). The document discusses the theories and practice of pedagogical frameworks generally, deriving from the literature, as a background to a national project on electronic resources and uses this to derive a set of pedagogical issues that individual projects need to address. It suggests a 'Theory of Change' technique to help teams align their work with these pedagogical principles. Below is a summary of this in two parts: 


1. Models, characteristics and principles of learning 

2. Pedagogical frameworks 2


Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Comments (10)

Dave Harris said

at 1:50 am on Jan 29, 2010

I like this scheme,but it follows a classically idealist approach in setting out with an ideal version of education as it should be. Donminant is a liberal-humanist view of diffuse learning done in helpful communities.I am surprised to see fairly old dichotomies still in business too as in the 'paradigm shift' just above. We could argue the toss about this version of educational practice and discuss what should ideally be done -- but what actually is done in real contexts? What about the hidden curriculum, stratgeic orientations (not just by students these days) and the unintended consequences of assessment, poor resources and burdensome management regimes and quality crusades? I know that all my good open democratic intentions to develop indepenedent learners in communities of practice just fall to bits after the first assignment is returned.

Helen Jones said

at 4:21 pm on Jan 29, 2010

I agree Dave - the paradigm shift suggests a move from 'knowledge as facts' towards 'knowledge as process' and is based on idealist beliefs of best practice. You call this an old dichotomy but I know that it is a dichotomy that is still very much alive and one that many people struggle with (myself included). On the next page you say "If I do not assess students they are reluctant to to do any kind of formative assessment: if I do they are obsessed with grades" and I think this is a key issue that we all struggle with. I gave a lecture on Terrorism yesterday and, in discussing the definitions of terrorism, made the point that Blair was going to be up in front of an inquiry today and that there is a demonstration in Manchester run by THEIR own student uniion. The first question that came from them in seminars was.... will this be on the exam? .... I despair.

However, in terms of pedagogic frameworks for this project I'm not sure how the above really relates to the issues. The OER is about sharing resources (which have a back story about how and why they were produced for initial use) - well, that's how I see it but maybe I'm wrong. So the pedagogic approach taken by the 're-user' is neither here or there is it? Unless we want to give some direction as to how the materials are to be re-used (but I'm not sure that is an aim).

So perhaps what I'm asking is - Richard can you explain why this page (and https://csapoer.pbworks.com/Pedagogical-Frameworks-2) have been posted for our perusal and what we ought to be discussing??

Richard Pountney said

at 2:47 pm on Feb 5, 2010

Hi - good points. I should have added that this stuff is place-holder. What it needs is for me to signpost and explain what I feel are the implications for this project - and Helen the second page should become clearer. Will post a comment below this one when I have done this.

Richard Pountney said

at 11:11 pm on Feb 7, 2010

OK - I have added a few signposts in the spirit of establishing the rationale for seeking a framework for practice. I agree with Dave that this can only be an approximate mapping to what is 'ideal' in the sense that it doesn't take into account the 'messiness' of practice. We might say that this mapping is not true to the actuality of practice, but I feel that this partly misses the point: this mapping is a pedagogic device that enables us to have a conversation about our practice; to describe it to ourselves, in order that others can interpret this description for themselves. This mapping will be incomplete - we need to create richer descriptions in the form of case studies, and to prepare mappings that we can each examine. Let's continue to talk about this

Dave Harris said

at 3:07 am on Feb 9, 2010

I can see the point of this sort of activity of course, but I can see limited value only in describing activities in ways that are unable to grasp the most obvious examples of messiness in real life. I think we all have perfectly good resources to describe and reflect in the subject disciplines that we all practise. We use terms like ideology, power/knowledge couplets, discourses and the like to discuss the practices of policemen, politicians, media folk and hte like - why exempt ourselves? It is just an odd quirk of pedagogical theory that it happens to have been colonised by (often 'positive') psychology and liberal-humanism, perhaps because the main pedagogy-mongers these days are management educators. It is even odder that sociologists, anthropologists and politics specilaist let them set the terms.

Richard Pountney said

at 7:12 pm on Feb 9, 2010

Hi Dave - Are we saying that practice is too messy to be described? Are you talking about knowledge as content? It might help me understand your point if you choose some of the examples of the resources you refer to and apply them to the descriptions of your modules? I have in mind the academic who is new to teaching who might pick up our materials,. And then of course there is the year 1 undergrad who might take what they encounter in the modules at face value.

I do acknowledge that attempting to describe something is reductive - the irritating search for certainty as Keats called it. I guess that is the problem with reducing something to the granularity of a RLO - you lose all sense of the ill-defined. Objections to this are often the last refuge of the knowledge experts posing as teachers. I aim to be mindful of this in my teaching.

Dave Harris said

at 12:26 am on Feb 10, 2010

I think we should <b>start</b> with practice , in all its contradictory messiness. I have been trying to use sociological work to elbow aside the usual approaches for 20 years, from Harris (1987), where I use Adorno to critique the OU, to my bit on interests in distance education in Evans, T D (et al) (2008) where I mix in a little Habermas and Foucault.

Maybe the best way in though is to think of a classic text like Hall et al <i>Policing the Crisis...</i>, which we have all probably read at some time because it covers crime, the State and the media. One argument in the text is that the press is autonomous and independent enough in Britain to avoid any suggestion that it is a mere arm of the State. The press does have its own standards like objectivity, balance and critique and these are genuine. Nonetheless, 'behind everyone's back', the press cheerfully plays a major role in the preservation of 'hegemony', or, if you don't like that term, as I do not, in the successful reproduction of the hugely unequal social relations of capitalism ( substitute 'modernity' if you wish). The independence, autonomy and freedom all end up that way in the end, despite what many people intend.

Now -- mentally cross out 'the press' and insert 'the university' and you have a very useful iniitial model to describe the living contradictory reality of what we do --me included, obviously. I would be proud to offer that as a guide to any young lecturer just starting out, and delighted if I could interest any undergraduate in it

Àngels Trias i Valls said

at 3:07 pm on Feb 23, 2010

À, my reply became a larger comment. Ih ave posted it on the page 'Dissolving and Creating', the comments below are extracts from it...

Àngels Trias i Valls said

at 3:11 pm on Feb 23, 2010

Marylyn Strathen has a work on 'parts and wholes', she argues when trying to reduce either, there is an inevitable reduction of complexity, what gets simplified is complexity itself, as well as the complexity of the relationship between parts and wholes. Here I imagine the granularity of courses as being inevitably de-complexified, however she argues, for the Melanesian case, things that get ‘refashioned’ only do so in other persons, it is invested in others, through others (rather than ourselves, as we –and our work- is the one that gets dissolved, de-fragmented).

Where I believe this project is going beyond other projects is that by providing people with the maps, itinerary, discussions, we are creating a new learning context but more importantly we are allowing for these people to OWN these objects. Thus, there are two dimensions for me here: 'translation' and 'ownership'. (translation 'for r-use' and ownership 'of (re-)use')
In translation mode, people come to the project, take the RLOs and bibliographies and use them, and whilst yes, they and we will loose out context and complexity, they also have through maps and wiki the possibility of understanding and translating the complexity we have reduced -and shared in its reduced form- and thus these new people will be able incorporate meaning of their own. (There is a pre-dimension to the 'translation' mode of use: you just put things online without no aid, no context, no nothing and people just 'grab and go'..)

The second mode of use, for me is that of 'owernership'. Whilst we provide help and context, which allows for translation to occur and for an RLO to be used in more meaninful ways that a 'grab and go' type of use, the translation mode does not guarantee that the user will feel a sense of ownership. This is something that I feel, we are implicitly discussing above, especially on Dave's point on the levels of inequality in social relations that we challenge whilst we reproduce.

Anna Gruszczynska said

at 12:04 pm on Feb 24, 2010

Re: Angels' comment above - please follow the rest of her overview here: https://csapoer.pbworks.com/Dissolving+and+Creating+-+Responses+to+Pedagogical+Frameworks

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