How can epistemic fluency perspectives be enacted in daily learning and teaching work? This presentation overviews the design of a blended course Systems, Change and Learning that fundamentally builds on the ideas of epistemic fluency. The course draws together three modes of human inquiry: systems thinking, design practice and responsive action. Through reflective engagement with ideas from different disciplinary domains and teamwork on practical innovation challenges, students begin to appreciate the need to accommodate diverse perspectives and learn to combine diverse ways of knowing. This is not a “flagship” course – it never received any extra funding or other “external” support – but a course that emerged gradually through our daily work with students. By being “usual” and simultaneously “different” this course has celebrated students’ deep engagement, collaboration and positive feedback. A brief description of our approach is in the presentation and this document. Below is a short summary.
Summary: Learning to lead innovation and change
Capacities to drive collective learning, jointly address complex practical challenges and create innovative solutions are seen as essential for future graduates. How can we prepare students to lead complex collaborative learning, change and innovation projects? How can we help them to develop the knowledge and skills needed for resourceful teamwork with other people who have different areas of expertise, experiences, and interests?
Systems, Change and Learning is a ‘blended mode’ graduate course in our Masters of the Learning Sciences and Technology program. It aims to develop students’ capacities to lead complex organisational learning and educational innovation projects. Rooted in systems theories, cybernetics and the learning sciences, this course: 1) introduces students to theoretical approaches and methods for understanding complexity, facilitating individual learning and managing change, and 2) provides them with practical experiences to engage in systems inquiry and collaborative innovation design projects.
The course draws on second-order pedagogy and gives students’ agency to design not only the innovation, but also their own learning and innovation process and environment. Students choose complex real life organisational learning or educational change challenges and, over the course of the semester, work in small innovation teams by analysing an encountered problematical situation, modelling possible scenarios and developing innovative solutions. As a result, each team creates a practical guide for Change and Innovation Managers who will be tasked with implementing the proposed innovation in an organisational setting.
The main emphasis is on fostering expansive learning and deliberative innovation culture through cultivating systems thinking, design practice and responsive action. Through engaging in systemic inquiry, innovation design tasks and authentic teamwork, students develop a number of graduate attributes that are critical for joint learning and knowledge-informed, responsive action in modern workplaces, such as analytical and integrative thinking, effective teamwork, multidisciplinary and intercultural competencies.
Evaluations show that this course promotes deep student engagement and brings about transformative learning experiences. It is now offered as an elective in two other interdisciplinary masters programs.
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