Embedding innovative ways of working in learning and teaching: implications for staff and organisations

D. McDonald, D. Cullen, L. Gourlay

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


For many educators, emerging technologies such as Web 2.0 are inspiring, offering new opportunities and better ways of supporting development of independent learners. However, for others emerging technologies challenge both their digital competency and their cognitive approach, roles, relationships and core ethos as an educator. For example, effective use of Web 2.0 technologies requires a cognitive shift from using information as a primary resource to embracing social network approaches. Lack of appreciation of this cognitive shift is exacerbating digital literacy divides amongst educators. Further, where not effectively supported and managed, introduction of such technologies into the learning experience can lead to poor educational experiences and disenfranchised staff, impacting institutional effectiveness and reputation. The adoption of emerging technologies and associated innovative practices into the educational experience therefore present challenges to institutions as well as individual academics. Many of the challenges, especially relating to digital literacies of students and staff, eLearning support and change management are well known. However, these issues are still not adequately addressed nor are solutions effectively embedded across the sector. A key factor has been the failure to adopt a sufficiently holistic approach, which takes into account organisational and staff development and their interdependencies (McDonald, Cullen and Comrie 2009). Add to this the need to support educators in adopting cognitively different approaches and it is clear a new, arguably transformative, approach that encompasses professional and organisational development is required. This paper provides an overview of an innovative approach to professional and organisational development adopted by the JISC Embedding Work-with-IT project, which partnered with professional bodies such as SEDA, HEA and the Leadership Foundation. The approach draws on activity theory, to develop a professional and organisational development support framework and toolkit which applies social constructivism and action learning techniques to help institutional managers, staff and educational developers and academic and support staff to understand, assess the implications of, implement, and embed innovative technology-enhanced working practices. The paper will: critically discuss the issues involved in successful embedding of this kind; introduce the Framework and associated theoretical background; stimulate reflection on appropriate organisation development approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010
EventALTC 2010 - Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Sept 20109 Sept 2010


ConferenceALTC 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • innovative ways
  • working
  • learning
  • teaching
  • implications
  • staff
  • organisations


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