If reports in the media can be trusted, then “knowing” isn’t what it used to be. It seems that we are all caught in a rip, being swept helplessly from a knowledge-based world into a post-truth society, where robots will take all the best jobs.
The latest edition of the Innovating Pedagogy report, published annually by the UK’s Open University, names “epistemic education” as one of the “high impact” trends that will become widespread in education over the next two to five years.
Simultaneously, the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s Trend watch list is topped by the word “epistemic”. Something is going on here, but is it just a flash in the pan? An educational fad feeding off a moral panic about fake news, alternative facts and information bubbles?
Our paper “Preparing students for the workplace through designing productive assessment tasks: An actionable knowledge perspective” presented at HERDSA 2017 has been now published. Free download is here.
Full reference: Markauskaite, L. & Goodyear, P. (2017). Preparing students for the workplace through designing productive assessment tasks: An actionable knowledge perspective. In R.G. Walker & S.B. Bedford (Eds.), Research and Development in Higher Education: Curriculum Transformation, 40 (pp. 198–208). Sydney, Australia, 27–30 June 2017.
Markauskaite, L. & Goodyear P. (2017). Learning as construction of actionable concepts: A multimodal blending perspective. Paper presented at the 17th Biennial EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction “Education in the Crossroads of Economy and Politics Role of Research in the Advancement of Public Good”. 27 August – 2 September 2017. Tampere, Finland.
Markauskaite, L. & Goodyear, P. (2017). Insights into the dynamics between changes in professional fields and teaching in higher education. Paper presented at the 17th Biennial EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction “Education in the Crossroads of Economy and Politics Role of Research in the Advancement of Public Good”. 27 August – 2 September 2017. Tampere, Finland.
What kinds of epistemic tools do skillful teachers use in their work and what kinds of epistemic games do they play? How could teachers’ preparation for knowledgeable action benefit from engagement of pre-service teachers in professional innovation? What different kinds of professional artifacts-tools produced by future professionals could tell us about their workplace readiness? Could current bureaucratic accreditation infrastructures and regimes (at least partly) be replaced by an open infrastructure for teachers’ (including pre-service teachers) professional innovation and professional knowledge co-creation? If foundational courses in law introduce students to legal thinking, and foundational courses in medicine teach students clinical reasoning, shouldn’t pre-service teachers also be helped to learn their professional ways of knowing?
But as the first thing, teacher education should move beyond (now dominant) evidence culture that sees teaching as a rigorous application of firm, robust and often inflexible externally generated knowledge, to an epistemic culture that sees teaching as a skillful knowledge craft and values professional ways of knowing.
Our work on epistemic fluency has been nicely taken up by Thomas Carey in his article “Is the Future of Liberal Arts Programs “K-Shaped”?’ published in Inside Higher ED. The article offers a very interesting rethinking of the learning outcomes traditionally associated with Liberal Arts education and possible new ways for (re)designing Liberal Arts majors. Epistemic fluency is at the core of the offered perspective. Few quotes:
We aren’t planning to encourage all our Humanities majors to take a minor in Economics or Business to bolster their value proposition in the workplace – that would only encourage the impression that expertise in particular workplace domains is the key to graduates’ success. Instead, one of the ways we are tackling this challenge is through exploring epistemic fluency in particular workplace knowledge practices rather than particular professional knowledge domains.
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Just as we need to integrate the development of essential learning outcomes into development of student capabilities in their major disciplines, there has to be a strong intersection of all of the K-elements ‒ discipline depth, essential outcome breadth and documented capability in one or more emerging knowledge practices ‒ in order for the desired epistemic fluency to mature.
This site has been created as a home for resources and discussion on the topic of Epistemic Fluency (Read more).
"Working on real-world problems usually requires the combination of different kinds of specialised and context-dependent knowledge, as well as different ways of knowing. People who are flexible and adept with respect to different ways of knowing about the world can be said to possess epistemic fluency." (Read more in Chapter 1 of Epistemic fluency book)