Innovating Pedagogy Report 2015

From the Open University and SRI International, the Innovating Pedagogy 2015 Report was released. This is the fourth one in the series. The report “explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation.” It provides an overview of 10 innovative pedagogies that will have an effect in education:

  1. Crossover learning – linking learning in schools and colleges to learning in informal settings (e.g. museums, after-school clubs).
  2. Learning through argumentation – Students learn to argue in ways similar to mathematicians and scientists (open-ended questions, contrast ideas, develop and use models). It enables learners to take turns, listen actively and respond constructively.
  3. Incidental learning – any unplanned or unintentional learning that triggers self-reflection.
  4. Context-based learning – Context enables students to learn from experience. Learners come to understand relevance and meaning by interpreting new information in the context of where and when it occurs and relating it to what they already know.
  5. Computational thinking – involves breaking large problems down into smaller ones, recognising how these relate to problems that have been solved in the past, setting aside unimportant details, identifying and developing the steps that will be necessary to reach a solution and refining these steps. The aim is to teach children to structure problems so they can be solved.
  6. Learning by doing science with remote labs – Engaging with authentic scientific tools and practices such as controlling remote laboratory experiments or telescopes can build science inquiry skills and improve conceptual understanding.
  7. Embodied learning – self-awareness of the body interacting with a real or simulated world to support the learning process.
  8. Adaptive teaching – uses data about a learner’s previous and current learning to create a personalised path through educational content. Adaptive teaching systems recommend the best places to start new content and when to review old content. They also provide various tools for monitoring one’s progress.
  9. Analytics of emotions – Automated methods of eye tracking and facial recognition can analyse how students learn, then respond differently to their emotional and cognitive states.
  10. Stealth assessment – automatic data collection that goes on in the background when students work with rich digital environments can be applied to unobtrusive, ‘stealth’, assessment of their learning processes.

What is interesting in the report is the identification of 6 themes that cover the different pedagogies fromthe past 4 reports:

  • Scale – delivering education at massive scale e.g. MOOCs, social learning.
  • Connectivity – connectivity between learners, locations and technologies e.g. BYOD, seamless learning.
  • Reflection – Learning is continual engagement and reflection e.g. learning to learn and assessment for learning, learning analytics.
  • Extension – extending the scope of current teaching methods e.g. learning through storytelling and computational thinking.
  • Embodiment – exploring through doing e.g. embodied learning, maker culture.
  • Personalisation – personalise learning through adaptive systems.

Reflecting on some of the year-end blog posts I have read lately, it does appear that when it comes to innovation and pedagogy, there is very little that is completely new, rather a reuse or reimaging of older ideas. For example, crossover learning could be seen as seamless learning, incidental learning could be seen as informal learning. Context-based learning could be seen as experiential learning, computational thinking could be seen as problem solving and logical thinking, while adaptive teaching could be seen as personalised learning. The challenge I take away from this report is how to advance the ideas, theories and practices into making day-to-day teaching and learning better.


Sharples, M., Adams, A., Alozie, N., Ferguson, R., FitzGerald, E., Gaved, M., McAndrew, P., Means, B., Remold, J.,Rienties, B., Roschelle, J., Vogt, K., Whitelock, D. & Yarnall, L. (2015). Innovating Pedagogy 2015: Open UniversityInnovation Report 4. Milton Keynes: The Open University.

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