• Beyond learning by doing: an exploration of critical incidents in outdoor leadership education

      Hickman, Mark; Stokes, Peter; UCLan and University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2015-08-03)
      This paper argues that outdoor leader education and training is generally characterized by the development of procedural skills at the expense of equally crucial but usually ignored, ‘soft skills’ (for example, contextualized decision making and reflection). Consequently, this risks producing practitioners with a potentially unsophisticated and limited awareness of the holistic outdoor environments and situations and an over-reliance on ‘how to’ skills which may, in turn, impede the development of links between theory and practice. This paper analyses a research project that undertook the application of critical incident theory to a study of undergraduates in a United Kingdom outdoor leadership degree programme in an attempt to promote and examine the processes of developing ‘softer’ reflective skills in the students. In addition, the paper’s argument and data, while not directly dealing with wider audiences (clients and national qualification bodies), provide inferences and allusions to potential consequent enhanced development and benefits of heightened reflective understanding and practice to these groups. Methodologically, the study examines a range of critical incidents in a purposive homogenous sample of 20 students from a vocational undergraduate outdoor studies course. Students were asked to identify and reflect on critical incidents in practice settings of their own choice. These settings spanned a range of contexts from outdoor centre work in the United Kingdom to assistant leadership positions on educational expeditions in remote locations overseas. Qualitative data analysis was carried out through the use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The findings supported the conceptual premise and indicated that outdoor leadership programmes need to develop a broader and holistic skills base rather than persist with the extant predilection towards primarily physical and technical skills. Allusion is made to the suggestion that this could ultimately potentially enhance effectiveness with clients and employability prospects. In summary, a focus on critical incident method early in education and training processes has the potential to equip practitioners with the holistic and complex set of skills required in the contemporary outdoor workplace.
    • Exploring the Impact of Reflective and Work Applied Approaches

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      The impact agenda is now a global phenomenon with great expectations for ‘transformational’ impacts in the wider world (Gravem et al 2017). Paradoxically, such demands can hinder discovery through the avoidance unpredictable outcomes (ibid), and problematically, there is an over reliance on very narrow conceptualisations of impact, oftentimes adopting the metrics used by research councils or governments to allocate research monies. Such metrics are fiercely debated, partly because of a disconnect with practice, and their significance in creating and shaping industries whose primary purpose it is to administer and optimise the administration of research assessment activity...
    • Reflecting upon reflection: Beyond reflective cycles for study at doctoral level

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2009-11)
      The poster presents a case study on the way students on the newly accredited Professional Doctorate (DProf) programme at the University of Chester are engaged in a deeper, more critical approach to reflective learning. The programme, which draws upon over a decade of experience with the use of reflective models, examines the issue of progression in respect of reflective learning and contains a critique of existing models, where ‘reflection’ is regarded as rational and hence unproblematic.
    • Reflective practice for sustainable development

      Wall, Tony; Meakin, Denise; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-09-30)
      The efficacy of developing institutional approaches for, and curriculum content about, sustainable development, has been criticised as insufficient to change behaviour in practice (Wall et al, 2017). This partly reflects the deeply engrained nature of educational practices and systems and their effects on learners, and how these are an intimate part of how (un)sustainable futures are perpetuated. As Orr (1994, p. 5) articulates it, “[t]he truth is that without significant precautions, education can equip people merely to be more effective vandals of the Earth”. Against this backdrop, scholars have called for approaches which employ a deeper link between individuals’ knowledge and their critical attributes, that is, a greater need to facilitate the capacities of learners to engage in critical reflection to help transform how they view their responsibilities regarding a sustainable future (Viegas et al, 2016)...
    • Revisiting impact in the context of workplace research: a review and possible directions

      Wall, Tony; Bellamy, Lawrence; Evans, Vicky; Hopkins, Sandra; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      The purpose of this paper is to revisit the scholarly impact agenda in the context of work-based and workplace research, and to propose new directions for research and practice. This paper combines a contemporary literature review with case vignettes and reflections from practice to develop more nuanced understandings, and highlight future directions for making sense of impact in the context of work-based learning research approaches. This paper argues that three dimensions to making sense of impact need to be more nuanced in relation to workplace research: (1) that interactional elements of workplace research processes have the potential for discursive pathways to impact, (2) that presence (and perhaps non-action) can act as a pathway to impact, and (3) that the narrative nature of time means there is instability in making sense of impact over time. The paper proposes a number of implications for practitioner-researchers, universities/research organisations, and focus on three key areas: the amplification of research ethics in workplace research, the need for axiological shifts towards sustainability, and the need to explicate axiological orientation in research. This paper offers a contemporary review of the international impact debate in the specific context of work-based and workplace research approaches.
    • Written feedback and deep approaches to student learning: Contradictory or complimentary?

      Peach, Jeremy (Centre for Academic Practice, Nottingham Trent University, 2004)
      This paper is concerned with the use of written feedback provided to students following both formative and summative assessment exercises and asks the if written feedback is commensurate with the notion of engendering, and or maintaining, a deep approach to student learning. I argue that for written feedback to be complimentary to a deep approach to learning students need to be able to correctly interpret tutors written comments and that students should be actively engaged in analytical and reflective activities. My argument is based upon current literature and a research project conducted with a group of students who are undertaking a post graduate programme. To address these issues I suggest that departments explore the opportunities students have for gaining access to the language of higher education and that research is conducted to ascertain the extent to which written feedback is commenting upon the intellectual content of students’ assessment activities and tasks. In addition a tool constructed by Weedon (2000), that seeks to engage students in analytical and reflective activities with regard to the written feedback they receive should be developed and contextualised for use within specific programmes and modules.