The project aims to explore what actually happens in teaching and learning, and how learners in particular, actually navigate their way through their learning. It should yield some interesting surprises, which hopefully we can link back into our courses.

Here's an overview of where we want to start ....

Introductions

We would like to introduce you to some of the ideas about learning that we would like to explore with you in our research…

1. What we want to find out

1.1 Lecturers
We are interested in exploring what actually happens during your teaching, starting with questions like ...

What are the most remarkable things that your students learn?
1. Within the curriculum
2. Outside the curriculum
3. How do these relate (if at all?)

What do you find most surprising about your students' learning, in areas such as ...
1. What they learn?
2. How they learn?
3. What resources and what people they consult?

What are the most interesting and fascinating links that you &/or your students make in the course?
1. From within what you have planned?
2. From events and conversations that happen during the course?
3. From quite surprising sources?
4. From another time and space?
5. Elsewhere?

1.2 Students
We are interested in exploring what actually happens when you learn, starting with questions like ...

What do you find most surprising about your learning, in areas such as ...
1. What you learnt?
2. How you learn?
3. What resources and what people you consult?

What are the most remarkable things you learn?
1. Within the curriculum
2. Outside the curriculum
3. Unrelated to the curriculum, but of value to you in other ways?

What are the most interesting and fascinating links you &/or your colleagues, &/or your lecturers make in the course?
1. From within what was planned?
2. From events and conversations that happen during the course?
3. From quite surprising sources?
4. From another time and space?
5. Elsewhere?

2. What is your experience? (Lecturers and Students?)

2.1 Stories

What is your experience of learning? What incidents, examples, or stories can you think of that illustrate and highlight some of the interesting things that happen in your teaching and learning?

Here is one of our stories about learning spaces and learning resources …

The Two Times Table.
The resource that is provided is a room with a table and a table cloth.

A four year old walks into the room and thinks: “This is a problem. It’s too high to do anything on, and too low to walk under, I’ll bump my head on it”. So s/he turns over the table, puts the table cloth over the legs, and creates a house. S/he invites friends to come and play.

An adult walks into the room and thinks: “That’s a nice table. But it needs some flowers, crockery, cutlery and some candle sticks, and I can have a great dinner party”. S/he invites friends over for dinner.

Both scenarios could enhance the competencies, the reputations and the identities of our two hosts – both of them could explore, learn, and achieve so much. Or both scenarios could result in disaster, if the four year old has wrecked the French polish on the table, or if the dinner is burnt, and the soufflé collapses. It all depends on a whole range of interactions between our learners and their physical and social environments.

2.2 How would you Identify and Describe the Learning?

How would you describe the learning that takes place in some examples from your own experience? What do you think are the key resources, trigger moments, people, and events that contribute to interesting and surprising learning?

2.3 How would you Focus the Research

What would you focus the research on? We will be tracking how learners find and use resources, how they identify and consult people in their learning, and how they tell their stories about this. What changes and events do you think we should focus on, track, and elicit stories on, in detail? What would you hope to learn from this, and what do you think other people would like to know, to inform their knowledge and their practice?