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Appears in:
Pages: 1404-1407
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0442

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

TROUBLESHOOTING AT THE ACADEMY: IMPROVED LEARNING BY ADAPTING LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

V. Gynnild

NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NORWAY)
Troubleshooting is a form of problem solving often applied to repair failed products; however, in this context it is used as a systematic search for the source(s) of an educational problem that must be solved. This approach represents an alternative to fine-tuning existing practices, based on teaching transmission theories. While the study draws on a concrete case, the methodological reasoning could be valid in diverse educational settings.

While early strategies to improve teaching usually involved observation and video recording of it, the perspective now includes learning environments from a broader perspective. In particular, teachers’ behavior in lectures is now less emphasized, while induction programs tend to be more explicit in terms of their theoretical underpinnings and conceptual reasoning. The term “learning environment” (LE) is used to denote both the physical and intellectual environment. There are features of LE that can inform theorizing and practice in education, and this study aims to explore this approach as a viable tool to improve learning.

This study was comprised of 24 participants enrolled in an induction program for new faculty. The selected research method can be defined, “… as an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context …” (Yin, 1984). Case studies typically involve a limited number of events or conditions, and our research questions are as follows: To what extent, and how, did the cohort of new faculty respond to the three tasks posed to them, and how can the nature of their responses be explained? The study draws on two sources of data: slides that summarize responses from each participant, as well as responses to an electronic survey administered at the end of the term in order to collect experiences and improvement ideas.

The induction program consisted of five meetings, featuring a mix of educational theory, group work, observation, and feedback on teaching approaches, which lasted for approximately 100 hours spread over one year. As the fifth and final assignment, participants were asked to identify a main concern related to learning processes and/or learning outcomes in a course of their choice. A follow-up task called for an explanatory understanding of their concern, and a way to develop an action plan to meet their identified challenges. At the conclusion of the program, all individual contributions were presented and discussed in a plenary session.

It was found that approximately 50% of participants managed to establish proper responses to the tasks. Major problems consisted of confusing means and ends, and being unable to theorize understandings to explain their concerns. In the absence of data, some participants resorted to pure guesswork, which blocked any attempt to theorize the issues. Shifting the focus from teaching to learning emerged as a major obstacle, in turn precluding the ability to theorize from multiple data sources. Successful candidates, however, had a great deal to share with their peers about selected concerns, including the association of explanatory understandings and action plans.
@InProceedings{GYNNILD2018TRO,
author = {Gynnild, V.},
title = {TROUBLESHOOTING AT THE ACADEMY: IMPROVED LEARNING BY ADAPTING LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.0442},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.0442},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {1404-1407}}
TY - CONF
AU - V. Gynnild
TI - TROUBLESHOOTING AT THE ACADEMY: IMPROVED LEARNING BY ADAPTING LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0442
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 1404
EP - 1407
ER -
V. Gynnild (2018) TROUBLESHOOTING AT THE ACADEMY: IMPROVED LEARNING BY ADAPTING LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 1404-1407.
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