Promoting reflective practice at a New Zealand tertiary institute: creating the conceptual framework.

John Clayton, Adam McMillan
Waikato Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Increased connectivity to high-bandwidth telecommunications and greater access to digital databases are transforming the flow of information and educational materials, personal communications between learners and educators and the formal contact between educational institutions and students (Statistics New Zealand, 2007: HEFCE, 2005). Conventional models of education are being challenged and “flexibility” is a concept educational institutions must consider in meeting their obligations of providing high quality learning experiences (Clayton & Elliott, 2007). Embedding flexible learning in the culture of the organisation requires educators to be firstly, convinced the learning environment created is pedagogically appropriate and secondly, they are technically competent of operating successfully within these environments. Both these requirements can be addressed by the provision of ongoing and relevant professional development (Mitchell, Clayton, Gower, Barr & Bright, 2005).The Capability Development team at the Waikato Institute of Technology believe professional development based on reflective practice and student feedback are key components in driving change at an individual and institutional level. A pictorial conceptual framework has been created to illustrate to staff the benefits of individual reflection and soliciting student feedback.This poster will graphically illustrate how this framework is underpinned by three As, Cs and Es creating the A.C.E. model.The three As are aligned with the identifiable stages of a project life cycle: Awareness (reflect on existing educational capacity and capability), Action (generate policies providing guidance for ICT implementations) and Accomplishment (measuring the impact of ICT implementations).The 3 Cs aligns with what is considered to be the pillars of flexible learning (Clayton, Elliott, Twohey, 2009): Context (factors shaping and influencing perceptions), Content (factors influencing direction and focus) and Capability (factors shaping participant confidence and understanding).The framework progresses to an indicator layer conceptualized by the 3Es, Enabled (initiatives measured on how they have enabled users to participate), Engaged (initiatives measured on how they have initiated and maintained engagement) and Empowered (initiatives measured on how they have ensured capability of participation).Finally, staff perceptions of the efficacy of this framework to drive change are presented.Clayton, J & Elliott, R. 2007. Report 1: A review of the literature: E-Learning Activities in Aoetearoa / New Zealand Industry Training Organisations. Tertiary e-Learning Research Fund, Wellington., J., Elliott, R., & Twohey, S. 2009. Open, Flexible and Networked Education Capability of the Waikato Institute of Technology. ETC White Paper: Waikato Institute of Technology.Mitchell, D., Clayton, J., Gower, B., Barr, H., & Bright, S. 2005. Final report for the Tertiary eLearning Research Fund project: An investigation into the factors that influence New Zealand polytechnic/institute of technology tutors' uptake of e-learning, with particular reference to early and later adopters and resisters. Hamilton: Ministry of Education. New Zealand. 2007. Information and communication technology in New Zealand: 2006. Wellington: Statistics New Zealand.