flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Last Friday night I attended the IOI Weekend Taster event providing highlighting the IOI Process. It was a great night, these are some of my thoughts and summaries …   

Teachers pose so many questions each day, the problem though is that many of the questions are often limited. They are responses to the here and now, to what is already known. How often do we ask the deep questions? Those that lead us into the unknown. Those beginning with ‘What If’ or ‘How Might We?’

One reason often provided is that of time. There just isn’t any space in the day to delve into such questions. However, as Godin points out,

“I didn’t have time”, this actually means, “it wasn’t important enough.” It wasn’t a high priority, fun, distracting, profitable or urgent enough to make it to the top of the list.

The challenge then is how do we make such conversations important enough.

Another issue is how to go about unpacking such questions. Frustratingly, such conversations seem to quickly lead to discussion about what is and isn’t possible, with little reference to evidence or understanding about context. On the contrary, IOI Process provides a structure to not only understand the intricacies of context, but help map out a path to change and innovation.

The IOI Process is built around three tools:

  • Modern Learning Canvas (PDF): Influenced by the Business Model Canvas, the Modern Learning Canvas is split into nine sections: learner’s role, strategies, enablers, practice, culture, policies, educator’s role, learning outcomes and pedagogical beliefs. Each section adds to the perspective. What is different to other tools and models is that the canvas is pictured from the learner’s point of view.
  • Pedagogical Quality Framework (PDF): Like the Canvas, the Pedagogical Quality Framework is broken into four sections: teachers role, teacher role, student needs and compelling opportunities.  By combining these together, it provides a means for creating a definition of pedagogical quality and an innovation thesis. That is, the biggest opportunity for growth and improvement.
  • Learner Development Profile (PDF): Based on Nikolai Veresov’s General model of genetic research methodology, the profile tool is made up of four sections: characteristics, motivations, sources and results. Just like the canvas, the profile focuses on the learner, rather than simply applying some predefined topic or progression.

What is interesting about the three tools is that in many respects they are yours to make of them what you will. Whether it be laying the groundwork for what may need to change or a means for creating a vision of learning and teaching to work towards. Each of the tools provides a common ground to come back to again and again. Providing a means for identifying the intricacies of learnings and areas for further improvement.

At the end of the day though, the success of IOI Process is language. Each of the tools, the sections, the guiding questions, they help to frame the conversation. It provides a clear picture of learning and teaching as it is or could be. Often such conversations get lost in semantics about what is meant by learning. A point Will Richardson made clear in a recent post. By framing the discussion, maybe we can get closer to talking about what is and what innovation is possible in the future. The rest is up to us.


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Innovation, Context and Language – A Reflection on #IOIWeekend and the Modern Learning Canvas by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

67 thoughts on “Innovation, Context and Language – A Reflection on #IOIWeekend and the Modern Learning Canvas

  1. Thank you for sharing. I always enjoy your presentations and the way you tie things together. My only quandary is SAMR and splitting the use of technology from learning and teaching. Although this maybe easier to make sense of cognitively, I wonder if this misses the way in which technology does or does not integrate within the wider school eco-system? This is why I liked about Modern Learning Canvas and using this to support the development of digital pedagogoies.

    Also on:

  2. Christopher Emdin discusses the importance of pedagogy as a response to the world around us. In particular, he reflects on the idea of ‘reality pedagogy‘:

    Reality pedagogy involves connecting academic content to events happening in the world that affect students. The curriculum can weave in specific references to the neighborhoods where young people are from, inequities that they and their families are hurt by, and protests in the community.

    This has me thinking about how this differs from inquiry learning or if that is a form of ‘reality pedagogy’? I kind of wonder if this was the hope and intent associated with Modern Learners Canvas in that the focus is not the named practice or pedagogy, but actually unpacking what that pedagogy actually is.

    Also on:

  3. In Jesse Stommel’s flipped keynote at Digital Pedagogy Lab 2020, he pushes back on the tendency to rely on various pre-existing pedagogical models.

    In higher education, too many of us cling to other people’s models, because we have rarely been taught, encouraged, or given the support we need to create our own.

    What matters most are the conversations as much as the product.a

    Models like Bloom’s are a distraction from the hard conversations we should be having about teaching and learning, and I don’t think that’s an accident.

    This is what I like about the Modern Learning Canvas and the way in which it helps frames the conversation.

  4. Adam Burnett and Louis Cameron unpack the life and times of cricket coach, Greg Shipperd. They trace his beginnings with Tasmania, his time with Victoria, before plying his time these days with 20/20 cricket. His success is attributed to his ability to build relationships:

    “The reason everyone loved him was because he was empathetic,” he says. “Some coaches treat their players as commodities; he treated them as humans.”
    @cricketcomau https://www.cricket.com.au/news/feature/greg-shipperd-coach-influence-australia-cricket-sydney-sixers-tasmania-victoria-hussey-ponting-white/2021-03-31

    Associated with this, is his meticulous preparation so that players are empowered to be the best that they can:

    so the messaging arrives via different mediums, each time reflecting the unique challenges of that match, but always delivered with the same intent: to provide the best preparation for his team.
    @cricketcomau https://www.cricket.com.au/news/feature/greg-shipperd-coach-influence-australia-cricket-sydney-sixers-tasmania-victoria-hussey-ponting-white/2021-03-31

    Beyond the endless files of scenarios he has stored up over time, a glimpse into his preparation is provided:

    Hussey and White recall their coach’s habit of preparing three whiteboards before a match, each teeming with accumulated knowledge. The first would have the 11 opposition players listed, with their strengths and weaknesses condensed into a single line next to their name. The second would have Victoria’s 11 players listed, together with their batting and bowling strategies. And a third whiteboard would have the team’s goals for the match, details on how the pitch was playing, the quality of the outfield, a session-by-session breakdown from the match as it unfolded, and so on.
    @cricketcomau https://www.cricket.com.au/news/feature/greg-shipperd-coach-influence-australia-cricket-sydney-sixers-tasmania-victoria-hussey-ponting-white/2021-03-31

    With a foundation of relationships and preparation, Shepperd has shown that he is able to adjust to the particulars of any organisation.

    The trick, Shipperd explains, is to tailor one’s approach to the needs of both the playing group and the organisation. In Tasmania through the 1990s, a young squad (and a relatively new addition to the competition) learning to consistently compete demanded a focus on fundamentals and selection. Later, Victoria, Melbourne Stars (with whom, Shipperd muses, things might have been different had he been given “just one more year”) and the Sixers all set their focus on regularly claiming silverware.
    @cricketcomau https://www.cricket.com.au/news/feature/greg-shipperd-coach-influence-australia-cricket-sydney-sixers-tasmania-victoria-hussey-ponting-white/2021-03-31

    This reminded me of the Modern Learning Canvas and had me wondering about what story might be told from looking at Shepperds’ various teams from this perspective.
    As side note, often the testament to a successful coach is how many pleayers/assistant coaches follow in the footsteps and become coaches themselves. For Shipperd this list too is continually growing.

  5. As always David you leave me thinking more deeply about the current situation. There was so much spoken about ‘building back better‘, yet it feels like so much of schooling has bounced back to pre-COVID defaults. The problem I have experienced is that things have changed and trying to work the same plan as if it is all business as usual seems somewhat flawed.
    For me, this has particularly been captured in the way we assess and report. So many have reverted back to biannual reporting how it was three years ago with little recognition of the disruptions that are still occurring and little thought to whether it is actually what is required by all parties involved. Although I have noticed some discussion of other models, such as mastery, as you attest in your piece, unless you recognise your current default it is hard to break free. This is what I have always liked about the Modern Learning Canvas as a means of starting this conversation.

    Also on:

  6. Despite the resemblance, an accretive robot is not the same thing as what in software architecture is known as a [big ball of mud](http://www.laputan.org/mud/). Big balls of mud are the result of organic growth logics going wrong and stalling out due to insufficiently thoughtful organization. Accretive growth is marked by ongoing incorporation of bits and pieces into an improvised, emergent architecture that has a small, conceptually coherent kernel and a large, wild shell. It is the material-embodiment analogue to the AI/big data principle of “simple code and lots of data beats complex code and little data.”

    Source: Accretive Growth Logics by @ribbonfarm

    Venkatesh Rao unpacks the different between organic and inorganic choatic growth, which he labels as accretive growth. Interestingly, with accretive growth, goals are “very unimportant”:

    Goals themselves will evolve as chaotically as the body and mind of an accretively growing entity, and will matter much less. In fact, the more I think about complex, large scale systems, the more I realize “goals” are a very unimportant feature of their behavioral profile. Accretive growth logics prioritize the next round of growth, self-perpetuation, and survival, not long-term goals.

    Source: Accretive Growth Logics by @ribbonfarm

    This has me thinking about SMART goals and curriculum planning in education, and how these might be done differently by being accretive. I wonder if this is what the adaptive Modern Learning Canvas was trying to achieve.

    In the end, Rao captures the biggest challenge of all in my opinion in highlighting that organic growth often wins out as it is easier to implement.

    Scaling with accretive growth logics is much harder than scaling with organic growth logics. It takes conscious intelligence and more active steering to do. Very simple creatures can grow organically. It takes human intelligence to invent organ transplants that work. Dumb, unmanaged accretive growth isn’t a thing.

    Source: Accretive Growth Logics by @ribbonfarm

  7. This powerful convergence of experiential learning philosophy and AI technology promises to reshape education in the coming decades. As AI continues advancing, understanding its applications in creating immersive, data-driven experiential learning environments is crucial. However, a lot more discussion is necessary as we explore the profound implications this convergence could have for individuals, educational systems, and humanity at large.

    Source: Experiential Learning and AI: Redefining Education Through Immersive Experiences | Dr. Ian O’Byrne by Ian O’Byrne

    I remember being in a discussion about devices a few years ago (probably ten) and I asked the presenter about the pedagogy underpinning the technology. I was told that technology is pedagogically agnostic. This has always lingered with me. On the one hand, I can understand the point, that technology makes learning more doable, but there is also a part of me that feels like an application that actively promotes surveillance clearly says something about the type of learning occurring in the classroom. In regards to things such as chatbots, I can appreciate the argument that it makes the learning more doable, but, as people like Dan Meyer highlight, are we happy with this learning? For me, this is why the Modern Learning Canvas has really stayed with me as a way of thinking about technological change. Too often it feels like the conversation around technology is in isolation, whereas the canvas invites you to think about all the different facets.

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