Tag Archives: professional learning

Epistemic fluency in higher education: bridging actionable knowledge and knowledgeable action

In our “slideware” you can now find a set of slides from a presentation that reviews the main ideas from  our Epistemic Fluency book.  These particular slides were used during  the seminar entitled “Epistemic fluency in higher education: Bridging actionable knowledge and knowledgeable action” @The Oxford Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research (OSAT). Similar (but not identical) slides were also used during our presentations @University of Sydney (CRLI),  University of Oslo (ExCID), University of Bergen (SLATE), University of Helsinki (CRADLE), University of Southern Denmark, and University of Stirling (ProPEL). If you can’t find something important, then email us and ask.

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Abstract

What does it take to be a productive member of a multidisciplinary team working on a complex problem? How do people get better at these things? How can researchers get deeper insight in these valued capacities; and how can teachers help students develop them? Working on real-world professional 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.

Drawing upon and extending the notion of epistemic fluency, in this research seminar, we will present some key ideas that we developed studying how university teachers teach and students learn complex professional knowledge and skills. Our account combines grounded and enacted cognition with sociocultural and material perspectives of human knowing and focus on capacities that underpin knowledgeable action and innovative professional work.  In this seminar, we will discuss critical roles of grounded conceptual knowledge, ability to embrace professional materially-grounded ways of knowing and students’ capacities to construct their epistemic environments.

Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts

We added to our slideware our presentation “Bridging professional learning, doing and innovation through making epistemic artefacts”, presented last week at the Practice-Based Education Summit “Bridging Practice Spaces” at Charles Sturt University. This presentation draws on the ideas from Chapter 8: Objects, things and artefacts in professional learning and doing of the book “Epistemic Fluency and Professional Learning“. It discusses how students’ work on making various artefacts for their assessments in courses that prepare them for professional practice bridges knowledge learnt in university setting with knowledge work in workplaces.

The gist of our argument can be summarised as follows:

  1. Professional expertise is inseparable from capacities to (co-)construct epistemic environments that enhance knowledgeable actions.
  2. Such expertise is grounded in embodied, situated professional knowledge work.
  3. Much of this work is done by (co-)creating epistemic artefacts that embody actionable knowledge.
  4. Productive epistemic artefacts connect the object (‘why’ of work) and the thing (‘what’ of work) through action (‘know how’) and ways of thinking that underpin situated professional innovation (ie. epistemic fluency)

In learning, much of the value of the epistemic artefacts comes from their dual and deeply entangled nature: they are simultaneously objective and grounded in situated experiences (aka. subjective). They embody actionable knowledge, and the activity through which they are constructed embodies knowledgeable action. They are reflective and projective.
Learning through making artefacts line

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A 21st-century higher education: training for jobs of the future

Today’s Conversation published quite interesting article about higher education and skills for 21st-century jobs: A 21st-century higher education: training for jobs of the future, by Belinda Probert and Shirley Alexander

We posted our comment on it. Here is a copy of it

Thank you for this interesting article. I completely agree that the “challenges for tertiary education are significant” in this area, and particularly that “universities will need to give teaching and curriculum design a greater priority.” One of additional key challenges is that current pedagogies for “21st century jobs” often draw on a very limited understanding about knowledge, skills and other capabilities needed for innovation and flexible, skilful, future-oriented knowledge work. Teaching to innovate should be informed by much deeper understanding of how people learn to innovate.
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Our other writings on Epistemic Fluency

We added some of our “forgotten” papers and presentations from our slideware to Our other writing page.

Stem of the Glossary is alive

We have started to construct a Glossary of the main terms that we use in the book. We will be adding new terms and definitions gradually.