To embed, not to embed, how to embed
The embeddedness of learning development (LD) within the delivery of academic courses is emerging in my doctoral research as a key mediator of how the value of LD work is perceived by its stakeholders. Embedding might be best thought of as ‘epistemological alignment’ between learning developers and academic disciplines: that is, working with the lecturers longitudinally to co-design and co-deliver. Maldoni and Lear (2016) describe this model as ‘embedded, integrated and co-taught’. Learning developers may be embedded in other ways (e.g., physical location, operational or line management) but this does not necessarily equate to embedded provision; it could still operate in practice as a ‘bolt-on’ rather than an integrated element of students’ learning. In my research, embeddedness is discussed highly positively by learning developers across the UK, as well as other stakeholders, yet is grossly undersold in the terms through which universities publicly frame their LD provision on their websites. This mini-keynote, and the discussions that followed, explored practitioners’ experiences of embedding work at their higher education institutions to work towards a richer understanding of good practice.
The three discussion prompts were:
- To what extent is LD work embedded at your workplace?
- What benefits and challenges (including surprising ones) have you encountered around embedding?
- Based on your experiences, what good practice advice would you give about embedding LD work?
Maldoni, A. and Lear, E. (2016) ‘A decade of embedding: where are we now?’, Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 13(3), pp.1-22. https://doi.org/10.53761/18.104.22.168
Murray, L. and Glass, B. (2011) ‘Learning development in higher education: community of practice or profession?’, in Hartley, P., Hilsdon, J., Keenan, C., Sinfield, S. and Verity, M. (eds) Learning development in higher education. Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 28-39.
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