Innovating Pedagogy Report 2016 Review

The Open University (OU) has released the 2016 edition of its ‘Innovating Pedagogy‘ report. It is the fifth rendition of an annual educational technology trend review that introduces ten pedagogies that already influence educational practice or offer opportunities for the future. While the scope may remind you of the Horizon Report, the methodology for gathering the trends is different: The NMC Horizon Team uses a modified Delphi survey approach with a panel of experts, the ‘Innovating Pedagogy’ report is authored by a team of twelve researchers from the Open University. As in previous years, the Innovating Pedagogy report discusses concepts that are novel or changing theories and practices of teaching, learning and assessment. Each trend is rated based on its impact (high or medium) and placed on a timeline for adoption (ongoing, 2-5 years, 4+ years).


Overview of 2016 Innovating Pedagogy trends timeline

Summary of Innovating Pedagogy Trends:

  1. Learning through social media: Social media sites can offer a range of learning opportunities: access expert advice, defend opinions, challenge positions, amend ideas, and face criticism. At the same time, social media poses difficulties such as inaccurate information, fake news, biased comments and hostile responses.
  2. Productive Failure: This method of teaching gives students complex, ill-structured problems that they attempt to solve individually or as a group. After forming their own solutions (which may be wrong) the learners receive direct instruction on the relevant principles and methods. Exploring different paths can lead to deeper understanding.
  3. Teachback: The basis of teachback is a structured dialogue in which students learn by explaining to other people what they think they know. Typically, an expert will present a concept and then ask the learner to attempts to explain what they have understood. Reframing a topic or problem in their own terms enhances understanding.
  4. Design Thinking: Design thinking approaches ill-structured problems with techniques that comprise creativity and critical thinking, analysis and construction. As a pedagogy, its essence is to put learners into contexts that make them think and work like a designer who solves a problem.
  5. Learning from the crowd: Crowdsourcing involves members of the public giving and receiving information to solve problems, create content, vote for the best solutions, or raise funds. A classic example of the crowd in action is Wikipedia, the ubiquitous online encyclopaedia created and updated by the public and stewarded by volunteers.
  6. Learning through video games: Learning through video games includes serious games, gamification and game-infused learning. Within video games, players are able to step into unfamiliar roles and contexts, making meaningful and consequential decisions. Well-designed games not only help learners process curriculum topics but also improve motivation, intellectual openness, work ethic, conscientiousness, and positive self-evaluation.
  7. Formative Analytics: This trend describes a shift in learning analytics away from aggregating data for assessment or monitoring by instructors or programs towards personalized, formative feedback for students. By providing analytics for learning rather than analytics of learning, formative analytics can enhance learning through automated feedback, including visualizations of potential learning paths.
  8. Learning for the future: This idea stresses the importance of lifelong learning and metacognitive abilities over the mere mastery of content. Future-ready learners have agency and autonomy in planning what and how to learn.
  9. Translanguaging: Translanguaging refers to moving flexibly and fluidly between languages. Pedagogical strategies engage the language abilities of bilingual students in teaching and learning, for example by using bilingual partners, organizing international collaboration, searching the internet in multiple languages and accessing a wide range of online communities and resources.
  10. Blockchain for Learning: A blockchain stores digital events securely on every user’s computer rather than in a central database. This is the technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoin. Blockchain learning explores how this approach could be applied to education, shifting from central records of student performance held by schools and universities to a more democratic model in which achievements are recorded by a wider range of participants.

Trends in the AACE Community

How prevalent are the pedagogy trends highlighted in the report? We checked the 100,000+ records of LearnTechLib – The Learning Technology Library – here are the results:

# of Records in LearnTechLib

Why you should read it

The Innovating Pedagogy report clearly focuses on teaching over technology, which sets it apart from other tech trend summaries. Another characteristic is the mix of novel and long-standing concepts. As an example, the 2016 edition highlights social media, game-based learning and design thinking – ideas that have an established field of research and practice. While some readers may see this as a disadvantage, it makes the report a great starting point to delve into various research areas of educational technology and the learning sciences. Along those lines, the introductory chapter of the report offers an interesting discussion of insights into learning theory and practice that have a robust empirical basis. What I like most about Innovating Pedagogy is its concise format: Whereas the Horizon report in recent years tripled the trends discussed (from positioning 6 trends on a timeline to discussing 18 topics likely to impact planning and decision-making in the educational technology sector), Innovating Pedagogy focuses on 10 different trends each year, which make the report easier to digest. Overall, Innovating Pedagogy adds a unique voice to the landscape of current EdTech trend reviews, and therefore is a must-read for practitioners and researchers alike.

Further Information:

Sharples, M., de Roock , R., Ferguson, R., Gaved, M., Herodotou, C., Koh, E., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Looi, C-K, McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Weller, M., Wong, L. H. (2016). Innovating Pedagogy 2016: Open University Innovation Report 5. Milton Keynes: The Open University.



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  Comments: 4

  1. Amazing article, we should keep working on new methods of teaching to make it more comfortable for students and they will find the real joy of learning.

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