Using Technology-Enabled Learning Networks to Drive Module Improvements in the UK Open University

Boyd, Lesley (2019). Using Technology-Enabled Learning Networks to Drive Module Improvements in the UK Open University. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2019(1), article no. 16.



This paper describes a work-in-progress action research project to investigate how technology-enabled learning networks may achieve practical organisational improvement outcomes in the author’s own institution, a UK distance learning higher education (HE) context. Collaborative learning technology, typically used for academic learning or professional development, affords the geographically scattered and disparate practitioner stakeholders involved in distance learning module design and delivery the ability to grapple together with a problem area requiring improvement.

In this particular context, there is a perennial organisational need to close a feedback loop between remote module tutors and campus based teams, to develop a joint understanding of teaching and learning design challenges, and to put tutors as close as possible to the development of solutions. However, there is insufficient conceptual and practical understanding about the mechanisms by which this unfolding process of technology-enabled organisational learning might happen. Conceptual frameworks in the field of learning networks and networked learning are still developing (Sloep, 2016).

The aim of this research is to investigate the active use of learning networks to achieve practical improvement outcomes, and to explore a new conceptual framework covering all stages of the required learning process. The research aims to make an original contribution to the call for actionable knowledge in organisational research, using a collaborative, equitable and rigorous action-oriented and theory-building approach, which also aims to achieve measurable impact.

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