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When beginning the process of identifying a problem of practice in my context I started by examining the current course curriculum to identify learning barriers. This initial reflective process would most closely resemble Boud’s Triangular reflective model (“Succeeding in Postgraduate Study,” n.d.) by initially asking “what’s missing in this curriculum?” and “What are the barriers to student success?” This basic questioning revealed that there was no resources available for learners to study NC operation remotely and that I need to develop a Digital Learning Resource (DLR) to enable at home pre-learning of the material.
Overlaying this examination on Boud’s Triangular model identified this phase as the Experience, or “What” section which leads into the Reflection, “so what?” area of the model. As I considered this process it occurred to me that I was not examining the problem through the eyes of the learner. The overly simple process of identifying the missing element, and then come up with a means to rectify it didn’t really get to the heart of the matter. By applying reflective thinking to my reflective thinking I realized that I needed to broaden my perspective.
The OpenLearn resource recognizes that both Boud’s model and Gibb’s cycle do not prompt a deep level of reflection and that neither of these models provide a means to encourage reexamination of the situation from alternative perspectives. In this context the important perspective is the one of the neophyte CNC machinist.
The Neophyte does not yet know what they don’t know and in order for me to create a suitable DLR I needed to tap into my awareness of their situation by reliving my own days of confusion and uncertainty. This recognition and awareness will drive the direction and content of the DLR. Through experiencing the feelings of the beginner and evaluating what is needed to mitigate the stresses associated with the material, I was better able to analyze the proposed solution.
Interestingly the feedback I received from previous students regarding an early iteration revealed a tendency to make assumptions regarding the learner’s current understandings and the use of terminology that would not be known to a beginning operator.
This information combined with the reexamination identified needed changes. I needed to give consideration to how the learner interacts with the DLR, acknowledge the importance of including different modalities like embedded subtitles in the video. Including a text based companion manual with clear info graphics will provide a tactile reference and low bandwidth alternative resources to facilitate rural learning. Additionally it became apparent that online interactive elements may unsuitable for all learning environments due to software and bandwidth requirements.
Now having completed the OpenLearn resource I can identify my reflective process more closely with Atkins and Murphy’s cyclical model as my reflective thinking was in line with the five key areas identified within the model and it was the recognition of the learner’s context that will inform the continued development of my CNC Digital Learning Resource.
Succeeding in postgraduate study. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2020, from OpenLearn website: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/education-development/succeeding-postgraduate-study/content-section-overview