The Education and Learning Sciences group presented itself and some of its newly started research projects on thursday September 20, 2018 on the ELS market. After the market, a symposium was held, in which three recently started ELS projects were discussed. Finally, new chair of ELS, Perry den Brok, held his inaugural lecture on modern educational ecosystems.
The day started with an ‘interactive ELS market’ with more than 15 stands at which ELS staff presented parts of their education/courses, their research projects or other innovation activities. The market was well-visited, both by visitors from all over the Netherlands as well as within WUR. Many interesting conversations were held, short activities conducted, quizzes held and prizes awarded (chocolates!). The topics presented included the ELS courses on Negotiation Skills and Intercultural Communication, but also research on ‘collaboration and personality’, ‘formative assessment’, ‘sustainability competencies of farmers in Ethiopia’, or ‘transitions between pre-vocational and vocational education’. Innovation topics included projects on ‘fair participation grading’, ‘learning in entrepreneurship skills courses’, ‘responsible innovation’ and ‘supervision of starting teachers’. Next to the ELS colleagues, also the 4TU Centre for Engineering Education (4TU.CEE) and the ‘Onderwijsloket’ presented themselves, making visible the closer and closer collaboration of ELS with other educational partners at WUR.
After the market, a symposium was held, in which three recently started ELS projects were discussed. Lisa Ploum presented her post-doc project on the learning of entrepreneurship skills of students, involving the use of a learning app. She also provided an interesting overview of the different foci one might have on entrepreneurship education, and that currently are investigated as part of a review study. Valentina Tassone presented an evaluation study that ELS is involved in and that investigates 3 years of course innovations funded by the WUR educational innovation fund. She presented an overarching evaluation framework with criteria; an interesting conclusion was that currently only a small part of the innovation projects has reported on outcomes, and that virtually no project conducts an evaluation as part of the work done. Carla Oonk, finally, presented on a post-doc project on boundary crossing and the WUR-wide Comenius project on boundary crossing. She presented the various boundaries that students potentially need to cross (disciplines, cultures, contexts of practice), and with the audience it was discussed if there are more boundaries, and what this requires from teachers and education.
Inaugural lecture Perry den Brok
Finally, Perry held his inaugural lecture on modern educational ecosystems. He started his lecture with the need for newly educated graduates and developments in education and society. After that, he discussed characteristics or design-criteria for learning contexts that can fulfil these new needs and ordered these in terms of the components of educational ecosystems (structure, networks, pedagogy, space and culture). Finally, he highlighted the need for research on educational ecosystems and he presented some recent work of the ELS group of research on educational ecosystems. The day ended with a nice reception; interesting conversations held, old contacts renewed and new contacts made.