THE CONVERGENT LEARNING SPACE – NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE

L.P.B. Kjeldsen, H.W. Kjaergaard

VIA University College (DENMARK)
The concept of “The Convergent Learning Space” has been hypothesized and explored in an ongoing action research project carried out at undergraduate level in select bachelor programs at a Danish University College, where classrooms are technology rich and students bring their own devices.

The changes in classroom understandings and student behaviour and technological possibilities have created the call for new approaches to teaching where teachers need to reconsider both their own roles and the roles of learning resources and classroom frameworks. Equally, freedom of choice and the inclusion of informal learning networks are still more prominently expected by students.

Against this backdrop, this action research project has worked with the definition and testing of the constituents and variables of the Convergent Learning Space and how it challenges our traditional conceptions of learning spaces. Through the data collected in the project and the analyses thereof, the paper will argue for the existence of the Convergent Learning Space. Data have been obtained through recordings of project meetings, from lecturers’ teaching plans and their reflections on and evaluation of their actual teaching, just as a questionnaire was distributed to the students to investigate their learning experiences, perceived degrees of freedom of choice of e.g. learning approaches, learning resources, tools and technologies.

The basic methodological approach of the project is action research, and the project thus aims to create fundamental change in the pedagogical approaches of the participating teachers through the redefining of their basic assumptions in this area in an ongoing learning process. It is therefore essential that the teachers are actively involved in the work of building new models and methods.

The article describes the processes that have rendered possible these changes through teachers’ participation in a pilot study aimed at testing the strength of the hypothesized constituents of the Convergent Learning Space as well as through conscious, documented teacher reflection on the methods, approaches, and procedures conducive to learning processes in the Convergent Learning Space.

In conclusion, the article describes an intervention study aimed at investigating how students benefit from a pedagogical approach that is planned, carried out and evaluated in accordance with the principles of the Convergent Learning Space. As the project contributes to methodology in technology enhanced learning, the intervention study will, as one outcome, also develop a methodology that may be more generally implemented by teachers in Higher Education.