Designing for collective learning as a terra incognita for exploration and inquiry

Publication Type:
Journal Article
The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, 2021, 28, (2), pp. 175-193
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A recent call for rethinking education as a collective social endeavor working toward a global common good recognizes the pressing interconnected challenges that we face in learning to live on a planet under social, economic, and environmental pressures. Educational institutions, educators, and researchers are tackling these complex, networked challenges by realizing initiatives designed on parameters privileging collective creativity and action, participatory engagement and inquiry, mutual learning, and system change. The study reported in this article reimagines undergraduate education as a transdisciplinary partnership between students, teachers, and researchers working alongside external collaborators from diverse industry sectors and communities. In this complex research-education-practice ecosystem, a creative (teaching and learning) practice appropriated from medical education was introduced into the studio learning experiences and the design of the first assessment task to investigate how and why students’ exploration of unknowns might enable insights about learning collectively, both for students and teachers. To make sense of the extensive dataset, three vignettes were constructed as collective learning accounts using the students’ own words to reveal the character of that exploration of unknowns over a three- week intensive Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII) Summer School. Findings indicate the educational power of introducing ignorance mapping and the inquiry-led exploration of unknowns. This reporting also provides insights into how students are active drivers of education by designing their investigations to explore, inquire into, and deal with inevitable uncertainties, ambiguities, complexities, and unknowns of practice. Findings suggest the timeliness of further investigations involving students-as-stakesharers in regenerating anachronistic notions of assessment and the need for further consideration of the ethical implications in rethinking and organizing education as a collective social endeavor.
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