Exploring Divergence and Congruence between Learning and Assessment Practices in University and Professional Workplaces

Exploring Divergence and Congruence between Learning and Assessment Practices in University and Professional Workplaces

Dr Tim Fawns (Associate, Centre for Research in Digital Education), Professor Emeritus Dai Hounsell and Gill Aitken have started work on a project, funded by the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme, exploring the relationship between student practices around learning and assessment at University, and professional practices in the workplace. The project fits within the wider theme of employability, is informed by literature on sustainable assessment and practice theory, and brings an alternative perspective to discussions around graduate attributes. It builds on existing links between the Centre for Research in Digital Education and Medical Education in the Edinburgh Medical School, considering both engagement with digital technology and clinical practice in order to explore how learning and performance are realised in complex and dynamic environments. 

As developments in digital technologies have transformed the tools, resources and interactions that underlie day-to-day practices in academic and professional settings, learning and assessment activities at University confront the challenge of keeping pace with what is needed in the contemporary professional workplace. Building on promising research into interprofessional workplace practices in relation to learning, performance, professionalism and information literacy, this study uses a sociomaterial lens to generate a contextualised and fine-grained picture of where and how academic and workplace settings diverge and converge around learning and assessment practices. We seek to understand the extent to which these similarities and differences might: highlight appropriate scaffolding of learning; impede sustainable professional development; and surface the tensions that can hold back curriculum change. The intention is that the results will help shape a proposal for a more substantial collaborative project.

Dr Tim Fawns

Image: John Fowler licensed under CC BY 2.0