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.
We will be presenting our paper that discusses various designs of tasks for assessing “workplace readiness” on the 27th of June, at the HERDSA 2017 Conference. If you will be attending the conference and interested, check the program and come to the session. The abstract is below. We will post our slides and link to the full paper after the conference.
Preparing students for the workplace through designing productive assessment tasks: An actionable knowledge perspective
Lina Markauskaite and Peter Goodyear
Preparing students for the workplace and assessing their readiness are often major challenges for university teachers. What kinds of concrete tasks help students develop professional capacities needed for situated knowledgeable action in a broad range of possible future workplace settings?
Our research examined assessment tasks that university teachers set for students in courses that were preparing them for work placements in five professions: nursing, pharmacy, teaching, social work, and school counselling. We combined ‘actionable knowledge’ and ‘objectual practice’ perspectives and investigated what students were asked to do, what they were expected to learn and how. Specifically, we analysed the nature of the objects that teachers selected for assessment tasks and the nature of the concrete artefacts that students were asked to produce.
Our results show some fundamental differences in teachers’ choices of objects. They ranged from basic and very specific aspects of professional work to some of the hardest and most broad-ranging challenges in the profession. The tasks also required students to engage in the production of a wide range of artefacts. We classified these as ‘cultural artefacts’, ‘conceptual artefacts’ and ‘epistemic artefacts’.
Our discussion draws parallels between these three kinds of artefacts and the notions of ‘work ready’, ‘work knowledgeable’ and ‘work-capable’ graduates, respectively. We argue that teachers, through task designs, shape ways in which students learn to link action (skill) with meaning (knowledge). Our findings raise some important questions about the kinds of authentic tasks that help prepare work-capable graduates for future learning.
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.
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)