On Monday last we had the final MUSKET Benefits Realisation Workshop at Middlesex University's Hendon Campus. We had presentations from colleagues from Middlesex, UWIC and Wolverhampton, as well as my own contribution.
The day was an opportunity for us to exchange ideas about future directions for XCRI-CAP usage and sharing of approaches and information about work-based learning. Jonathan Garnett (Dean of the Institute for Work Based Learning at Middlesex) gave an excellent presentation entitled "Planning for Uncertainty" that placed the development and future of WBL in the University within the context of the current climate of recession and change. Richard Staniforth (UWIC) talked about the Welsh context in relation to XCRI implementation and asked some challenging questions about how we can market XCRI better in future - we need clearer messages and better engagement with our audience. Kirstie Coolin covered the CIePD at the University of Nottingham's latest projects SAMSON and SALAMI, showing how XCRI-CAP and other open data was being used practically. George Dafoulas, our host, demonstrated that the MUSKET team were a step closer to providing an extremely useful set of tools, statistics and graphical interpretation of them, so that comparisons of course related materials could be made and potentially widely used for a range of applications, including course choices, APEL and curriculum design. Mike Mimirinis got us thinking about approaches to learning and employability before, during and after university, within the ePortfolio context. And finally Emma Purnell and and Alison Felce showed how ePortfolios (Pebblepad in particular) are being used at Wolverhampton University to support pedagogy with work based learners and to assist with the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning.
I had some random ideas during the day:
- Can we partner with employers for the supply of course related information for WBL / CPD?
- WBL from the employer standpoint doesn't have to lead to qualifications. This may conflict with the government's qualification-based approach to both the value and funding of education and training.
- An international context, particularly in relation to large companies has implications for wider courses information management - bigger pool for WBL / CPD; online/distance WBL may be very important.
- Can we have semi-organised open data and functions, for example Facebook or other social networking software that could be used to create semi-formal learner/employer/educator groups?
- "Curriculum frameworks" may be becoming 'a la mode'. This idea is an attractive way of getting offerings that are more responsive to employer demands. These frameworks rely on deconstructing the curricula, centralising information so that all in the organisation know about them, and making chunks of learning that can easily be linked together to form validated wholes. ePPSME at Wolverhampton experimented with dividing 20 credit modules into 4x5credit chunks for ease of accessibility.
- Much of the power of these initiatives depends on structured, standardised, open and linked data.