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Teaching and learning tricky topics
Teaching and learning tricky topics

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5 Learning innovations

After completing Week 6 you should have more of an idea of innovations that are relevant for your tricky topics. It is important as you move forwards within your organisation in sharing these ideas, that you identify the effectiveness of these innovations. But what is meant by effective? Evidence-based practice has been an important international movement that has argued for evidence underpinning innovation choices and implementation approaches. But what is meant by evidence-based practice?

What is evidence-based practice?

Evidence-based practice requires decisions about practice to be based on the best available, current, valid and relevant evidence.

Evidence-based practice came to the forefront in the 1980s through the evidence-based medicine movement pioneered by practitioners and academics like Sackett et al. (1996). Evidence-based medicine has since moved into other disciplines such as evidence based education (Horner et al., 2005; Perry and Smart, 2007). There are many criticisms around a restrictive concept of ‘evidence’ as experimental.

The evidence-based practice (EBP) movement have complicated this debate further with value statements about one methodology (i.e. randomised controlled trials) superiority over another regardless of the reviews of method effectiveness to answer different practice related questions. It must be acknowledged that in many cases literature on evidence-based practice has taken a very limited view on evidence and thus the guidance for practitioners in assessing and reviewing evidence is often flawed. Practitioners cannot be expected to become research methods experts yet there is an underlying assumption that they should become experts in educational research. While it is important to carefully review what you use as evidence, the argument for rating and evaluating the effectiveness of different interventions is a strong one.

Activity 8 What works?

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

Read the section on Education (pages 13-17) in What Works Network (2014) [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

How do you think that this type of rating for innovations would work in your organisation? Think through how innovations could be rated for solving your organisations tricky topics and learning design issues. What other types of ratings your colleagues could share on innovations that they used in teaching and learning.

Share your thoughts on rating different innovations and how well they support tricky topics and learning design within your organisation on IRIS Connect. See Week 8, Activity 8.

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