Enriching learning – rewarding excellence – harnessing expertise
The RLO-CETL team embarked on a five-year mission in 2005 with a bold programme of parallel processes and deliverables. The first two years of operation resulted in the production of a critical mass of RLOs and these are now available in the CETL repository. Always based on an identified pedagogical need (pedagogy “pull” rather than technology “push”) this first generation collection of learning objects has been thoroughly evaluated with large (>2000) cohorts of students. An early deliverable was the CETL Evaluation Toolkit, a comprehensive set of educational evaluation tools.
To achieve this critical mass of RLOs, an innovative and extensive staff reward programme has been pioneered. Designed to harness expert knowledge and transform it into engaging interactive shareable content, the Wolfson Reward Programme, as it is now known because it is based at Wolfson College. This is a focal point for our CETL communities and is now a model for institutions wishing to set up similar initiatives.
A vigorous programme of dissemination continues to spread the impact of the RLOs far beyond the three partner institutions.
Currently in the second phase of our activities we aim to further enhance the CETL’s scope and impact and plan to achieve this through a number of new initiatives:
- We have already moved to a predominantly generative learning object (GLO) based model for the development and reuse of learning objects (producing learning objects that are highly adaptable). GLOs are based on an underlying shareable pedagogical design and because they can be edited and adapted by local tutors for their own specific teaching and learning purposes, this makes them very productive. By using the GLO approach we can elicit higher-order learning designs, especially through our practitioner-centred workshops. A key factor in the success of this approach will be the high degree of harmonisation of output required as development of GLO tools takes place across three institutions; this is very much work in progress.
- A major new application area is under development in mobile learning objects, also using the GLO approach. Mobile phones are multimedia capable and relatively cheap. They are also ubiquitous among students!
- At the heart of the CETL is our multi-disciplinary community of practitioners – academics, developers and students. Recognising the power of this community approach, we are extending and deepening the community, involving more actively the re-users and adapters of learning objects.
- Our significant contribution to pedagogical research continues and we maintain momentum through regular publications and presentations at national and international conferences.
- Crucially, we are building a viable business model to ensure our sustainability through encouraging the widespread take-up and embedding of learning objects at institutional, national and international levels. A key initiative here is the internationalisation of the Wolfson Reward Programme; from 2009 onwards term-long international visiting Fellowships will be offered on a competitive basis as we launch the Wolfson e-Learning Fellowship Programme.