Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dangerous words - critical perspectives on methodology in pedagogic research

Neoliberalism I'm off to give a workshop on pedagogic research this afternoon. Individual career trajectories aside, you might think that's a comparatively neutral activity. It turns out that "academics must develop a counter discourse to that of neoliberalism if higher education's wider societal responsibilities are to be served". This paper argues that:
"both the Structure of Learning Outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy and constructive alignment downplay the distinctive characteristics of different forms of knowledge. Learning conceived according to such a model can easily become co-opted into the production of employable subjects. Our analysis suggests that significant gaps remain in the basis for one of the most widely adopted perspectives on learning and teaching in use today."

Tin hat on then.

Critical perspectives on methodology in pedagogic research. (2015) Teaching in Higher Education 20 (4): 442-454. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2015.1023286
The emancipatory dimension to higher education represents one of the sector's most compelling characteristics, but it remains important to develop understanding of the sources of determination that shape practice. Drawing on critical realist perspectives, we explore generative mechanisms by which methodology in pedagogic research affects the sector's emancipatory potential. In this, we critique the research that led to the Structure of Learning Outcomes taxonomy. Our analysis here enables us to offer a revised version of the taxonomy that is sensitive to horizontal knowledge structures. We further consider a set of studies employing approaches to research that were sensitive to variation in knowledge across disciplines, social relations, reflexivity, corporate agency and other considerations, enabling us to illuminate the stratified basis for our explanatory critique. There is potential for our analysis to assist in developing approaches that are distinctive to research into higher education.

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