Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Assuring graduate capabilities in a disaggregated and distributed learning environment (#14)

Christine Ewan 1
  1. OLT Higher Education Standards Panel Research Fellow, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)

The workshop will discuss and provide input to the further development of a project commissioned by the OLT and the Higher Education Standards Panel.   The main aims of the project are to identify models of disaggregated learning that have implications for formal higher education and to review international and national approaches to verifying outcomes, graduate capabilities and standards.  Central to this latter aim is the development of a good practice review or reference document for approaches to compiling and assessing evidence of learning outcomes and credit mobility and credentialing in disaggregated learning environments including workplace learning.

The project was initiated in recognition of a clear emerging need in relation to disaggregation of learning experiences and the foreseeable trend towards learner demand to be able to credit disaggregated and/or informal learning for formal academic credentials.  This emerging need has several drivers among which are:

·      both private and public providers are recognising the need to be more agile and collaborative outside the academy walls in response to the changing consumer and regulatory environment.

·      a global recognition of the need to be more responsive to social inequality through universal access to free and/or open education.

·      given the growing variety of models of and purposes for disaggregation it is unlikely that the current internal institutional methods for credit recognition, credit transfer and RPL will be sufficiently robust or sophisticated to cope with the likely demand in the medium to long term.

A variety of responses to these issues is in the very early stages of development in North America, UK, European Union, NZ and Australia.  A discussion document will outline the main approaches and canvass their applicability in the Australian context

The project also aims to identify areas in which the Higher Education Standards Framework might pose unnecessary hindrances to flexibility and collaboration for disaggregated learning models.


Addressing the theme/s of the Conference (up to 200 words recommended)

The themes of the conference are

·      How best to integrate learning more seamlessly with life and work

·      How to enhance opportunities offered for learning using digital technologies, both on-site and online.

The main topic for discussion in the workshop will be the ways in which Australian higher education can respond to and successfully integrate into credentialed programs learning opportunities which occur in the workplace, in the home and in contexts such as continuing professional development or life and work experiences. 

The need for and benefit of this new environment has arisen because of the potential of emerging technologies to both facilitate a broader range of learning experiences and outcomes and to enable a sophisticated and robust approach to capturing experiences, documenting, assessing and assigning formal credit to them.  The active engagement of learners in this process is also fostered and enhanced by the multitude of blended learning experiences that emerging technologies permit.

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