Association for Learning Development in Higher Education 2013

I went to Plymouth to help celebrate 10 years of learning development at the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education Conference at Plymouth University from 25-27th March 2013.

I also went to present a ‘lightening talk’ about the Higher Education Academy funded Students as Teaching and Learning Consultants project and how it was set out to enable student and staff dialogue about teaching and learning. I talked about how the project was very much a response to the potential disconnect between student and staff perception of what happens in the classroom or in other staff/student interaction. To illustrate this difference in perception and the existence of dual perspectives I used the well-known image of the duck/rabbit, a reversible figure that can be seen both as the head of a duck or the head of a rabbit.

Duck/Rabbit: Jastrow, J. (1899). The mind's eye. Popular Science Monthly, 54, 299-312.

Duck/Rabbit: Jastrow, J. (1899). The mind’s eye. Popular Science Monthly, 54, 299-312.

A keynote looking at the history and the future of learning development

My favourite presentation was by Dr Stella Cottrell, who was the keynote speaker on Wednesday 27th March. She outlined the history of learning development from an area being of marginal interest in most higher education institutions to becoming more central in her talk entitled: “Learning Development and the Day of the Cyborgs: Evolution, Revolution or Surrender?”

Dr Cottrell argued that support for learning should be universal but differentiated not remedial and not because of league tables.

Take a look at the photo below (you need to click the link) taken by a delegate which shows the ‘great chain of being’ that Dr Cottrell used to humourously illustrate an earlier time (1980s) when the priorities in HE had students (and their development needs) very much at the lowest end.

Dr Cottrell also talked about the future and interestingly, she argued that there is an increased focus on emotional intelligence, affect, mindfulness, resilience and EQ, not just IQ.

Cottrell anticipates more interdisciplinarity, thinking across boundaries: students will need to be Renaissance thinkers #ALDcon

— Emma Coonan (@LibGoddess) March 27, 2013

I think it is fair to say that Dr Cottrell ended with a call to keep working as there is room for improvement in relation to the status of learning development and learning developers.

You can view the searchable twitter archive created by Andy Mitchell

Next year the conference is at the University of Huddersfield, which is where I am based, very exciting! I look forward to it, always a great experience.

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen)


About talintuoh

Supporting and connecting colleagues to develop inspiring and innovative teaching and learning
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