Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Just in case you missed, it Peter Mandelson has spelt out his vision for universities......

Yes, we know more degrees need to target mature and part-time students rather than 18-year olds, but it is the call for a "consumer revolution in HE" that concerns me. Will it really help to treat employers and students as customers? How does this square up with the evidence that most HE students (whatever their goals, age, background, digital literacy......) still want and need guidance and structure to their learning?

Luckily, there are people much more qualified than me to talk on this subject. JISC's online conference started on the 24th November and I have just listened to the Keynote session lead by Helen Beetham and Rhona Sharpe.

Helen Beetham challenged the "consumer" model that it being touted about. She argues

"A consumer model sees learners' needs and expectations as one and the same thing....Find out what learners want - or employers, in another version - and deliver it. But we know learning isn't like that. If we see learning in the highest sense as self-reflection, self-realisation, self-transformation, we see that needs may be met by challenging expectations, and that both will change if deep learning is taking place."

If you want to find out more, these resources may be of interest: Learning Literacies for a digital age wiki LLiDA) (Learners Experience of E-Learning)