Knowledge Creation Through Engagement in a Personal Learning Environment

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Abstract

This paper reports on an action research project involving a complete re-design of a module in Educational Studies undertaken by students in the first year of a B.Ed degree in a university in Scotland. Innovative use of a personal learning environment (PLE), the PebblePad E-Portfolio System, resulted in radical changes in teaching, learning and assessment and produced significant gains in learning and in efficient, effective use of staff time. The lecture programme was restructured in a way that identified five clear, natural breaks, which were named “learning milestones”. These occurred at the end of each “mini-series” of lectures. A “core task”, designed to consolidate the learning content of each mini-series, was constructed by the faculty member who had delivered the lectures and formative assessment, in the form of self and peer-based assessment, was designed around these core tasks, allowing an incremental increase in the demands placed on students. The project supported the development of skills of self and peer-based formative assessment, reflection and self-regulation in students aiming to be primary (elementary) school teachers. The intervention was funded by the Re-Engineering Assessment Practices in Higher Education (REAP) Project which, in turn, received funding from the Scottish Executive (Government) E-Transformation Initiative.