This week saw my return to NLS (Nottingham Law School) after 22 years. It’s been great to see so many familiar faces and also meet many new faces and to feel once again part of something that quite honestly feels like coming home.
The fact that after 22 years nearly 50% of the staff have remained at the Law School is a testament to the place. Yes, we all look just a little bit older but we’re all a lot more experienced and a lot wiser. Colleagues who I first met as practitioners like me taking their first steps into higher education, are now Associate Dean, Senior Management Team, Professors and Doctors. I’m incredibly proud to call them friends and colleagues and also incredibly proud of their achievements and the huge contribution they have made and continue to make to professional legal education both in this country and abroad.
I hope that by returning to NLS I can also contribute to the continuing success of the Law School. Of course the landscape of professional legal education in the UK has altered significantly since I was last here in 2003. There are significant challenges to be met and new vistas to explore but the pioneering spirit of ’93 at the advent of the LPC is still there. With an open mind, and a passion for innovation and progression we set off like Lewis and Clark to chart the unknown. It’s been refreshing to return to NLS, for me the force awakens!
Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, the advance of technology and the desperate need to solve the higher education funding crisis will drive this development. But more than that, this is a beautiful concept in that it accords perfectly with the themes of life long and social learning. Learning should not be compartmentalised into restricted hours and physical environments. It should be constant, permanent,online, offline, all time.
So, roll on the University of Everywhere. I for one intend to be a student.
Those of you who have followed this blog will know that I am a big advocate of the EduPunk movement; seizing control not only of one’s education but also the means of producing education. Whilst Google tools and apps have started to provide the means to create educational material without any start-up cost, the UI and functionality has been very raw, almost the very equivalent of punk’s 3 chord songs.
All that is about to change though. I sense that the imminent explosion of cloud-based LMSs such as TalentLMS (whose growth prediction for 2015 is 200%) will lead to a proliferation of new course and instructional designers willing and able to branch out and produce innovative education accessible to all and at reasonable cost. In comparison to the licence fee of a mainstream commercial LMS like Blackboard or the development and maintenance cost of an open source LMS like Moodle, cloud-based LMSs provide a basic format on which the instructional designer can easily and cheaply design and deliver learning. The skill as ever lies in the creativity, innovation and support of the designer and the instructor (or as I prefer to call them, the Master Learner), truly reflecting the value of the individual artist rather than the cost of an over-priced platform with over-staffed administration.
I’ve been playing around with several cloud-based LMSs, particularly TalentLMS, as an alternative to the Google site LMS I established at the end of last year. I can tell you that all the functionality present in commercial LMSs such as Blackboard is all there, all the analytical tools, all the reporting functionality, security, certification/accreditation, everything. Maybe the UI needs some gloss (although TalentLMS is fully customisable) but that will come I have no doubt in future upgrades/releases. And let’s not forget that neither Blackboard or Moodle in its various guises are particularly good looking or easy to navigate!
So, my big tip for 2015: cloud-based LMS. For the independent course and instructional designers amongst us, and for corporate L&D departments looking for accessible low-cost platforms, this is going to be the beginning of something huge.
Hands up…how many of you have experienced an effective appraisal or career development review system run by an employer? Not many I’d guess. Personal experience suggests that they are nothing more than tick box exercises with little in the way of actual development being shown for all the talking and hours it takes to complete. Caring and sharing faces shown by ‘People’ managers but really is anything achieved by the time the next review comes around or are you left with that feeling that it’s really just one big empty gesture?
The post-industrial age in which we live provides little job security in the employer/employee market and so it’s time to take control of your own personal and professional development. Don’t worry, it won’t conflict with your employer’s appraisal or career development scheme, in fact it will complement it and might even put you in the driving seat to get genuine support on the road to furthering your professional goals. The point is that you, that’s YOU, have to have a plan; one that you have set out, that is personal to your professional development regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed. A plan that is transferable and continuously progressive. A plan that is your responsibility.
The latest in my toolkit series is a Professional Development Plan Toolkit. It contains documents and provides a process that will help YOU implement YOUR plan and guide you through the professional development cycle. It puts you in the driving seat.
The Instructional Design Toolkit complements the previous two kits in the series in that it deals with the next stage in the curriculum/course design process: Design & Delivery Strategy – Course Modelling – Instructional Design.
I know from over twenty years of experience that it is hard to find templates for very important documents such as Initial Design Concepts and particularly Design Briefs. Yes, if you look very hard in the right places only certain people seem to know, you will find the odd PDF file here and there but they vary widely in both suitability and quality. That is why I have produced the tools in this toolkit series, so that designers, in particular those involved in legal education, have ready-made, suitable and comprehensive templates with which to work.
This toolkit comprises the following documents that can be adapted to suit individual organisations or institutions:
Initial Design Concept Template
Design Brief Template
Bloom’s Taxonomy Action Verbs Table
Session Description Template
Facilitation Guidance Template
Each of the templates has both Word and PDF versions. Guidance is given both on the instructional design process and the information required in order to complete fully working documents, saving you tremendous amounts of time and effort.
As with all the toolkits in this series, they have been designed to be self-contained, however, nghudson.com can provide workshops and support to help design teams get the most out of their use. Simply contact me through this blog or the nghudson website if you’d like details.
Course modelling is the process by which a course designer maps out the teaching and learning methodology for a particular course or module. Astonishingly, it is often overlooked in the design process as instructional designers seek to shoe-horn the course content into the available sessions at the earliest opportunity. As a result, courses often end up putting content before learning experience which is deeply unsatisfying to learners, the very people who ought to be at the forefront of any course design.
I know for a fact that many legal education providers lack any definition of their teaching and learning methodology and this manifests itself in the absence of any modelling or prototyping of new courses before design begins. The result, a lot of wasted time and energy, lack of direction, no identification of potential pitfalls, and most importantly little consideration of the learning experience for the learners. My answer, a Course Modelling Toolkit, the latest in the toolkit series, which is now available to download from the nghudson.com eCommerce page
The tools can be adapted and branded to suit individual organisations/institutions.
nghudson.com can provide half or full day workshops to facilitate the course modelling process and help design teams get their course design off to a great start. For those who wish to go it alone however, a step-by-step guide to the process and use of the tools is included in the toolkit.
As you know, I’ve been publishing a legal education newsletter, The Legal Edlines, in 2 formats recently: a weekly version published via paper.li and a digital interactive supplement available through my website nghudson.com Both versions have proven popular but now there’s an improved version available.
As of this week, publication of The Legal Edlines will cease and it will be replaced with a brand new online magazine called Legal Education News which will be published with Flipboard.
Flipboard is a publishing platform that can be viewed through a desktop/laptop browser or across all your mobile devices via apps that are available for iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry. Flipboard will provide Legal Education News with a single place to discover, collect and share news that we care about. It will include articles available on the web, publications, social media and blogs connected to legal education, the topics that are closest to us and the people who work in that field.
Legal Education News
Flipboard provides a beautiful magazine format that is easy to use and great to view. You can curate and share articles that appear in the magazine, ensuring that you and your colleagues are kept up to date with Legal Education News. View the very first issue by clicking on this link:
Legal Education News will be updated as new stories develop so you will be able to keep up to date simply by hitting the refresh button on your internet browser or by subscribing to the magazine via the Flipboard app. And the best thing about it….it’s FREE!