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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education

Grant reference: L139251025

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Conference paper/presentation details

TLRP: Getting better all the time? what can we say about strategies for improvement in teaching and learning?
The Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education (TLC) project is a four-year longitudinal study that comes to a close during 2005. It sits within the Teaching and Learning Research Programme, overseen by the ESRC, and was formed in part to respond to the goals of that wider programme. Whilst a subsequent phase of the TLRP has funded further projects in the area of post-compulsory education, the TLC project remains unusual as a substantial independent research project to examine learning and teaching in further education colleges in England. The aims of the project are: (a) deepen understanding of the complexities of learning; (b) identify, implement and evaluate strategies for the improvement of learning opportunities; (c) set in place an enhanced and lasting capacity among practitioners for enquiry into FE practice. The project involved close study of 18 ‘learning sites’ that between them capture something of the diversity of provision. It combined qualitative and quantitative methods and put together the part-time efforts of 20 FE staff and 10 HE staff for much of the funded period. This short presentation will focus on the second of the three aims, to do with strategies for the improvement of learning opportunities. I want to give examples of how tutors working within the framework provided by the project tried to bring about improvement of various kinds. Their stories are interesting and often have clear implications. However, looking across such experiences to learn from them is rather complex. One set of difficulties is to do with what counts as ‘improvement’ and to whom. A second set arises because efforts to change things for the better can have unintended consequences. Thirdly, observing attempts to bring about improvement is often so revealing of learning cultures in a wider sense, that we cannot ignore what it tells us on that front. I will conclude with some general points that survive in some form despite the problems thrown up by this complexity. They amount to strong suggestions about improvement arising from across a diverse set of FE learning sites.
Original Document

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Author D James

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