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Martin Blazey The innovation of learning practice

This is the second of my series of blogs looking at the theories of learning (you can read The Globabl Pedagogy here). In this blog I’ll be looking at the innovation of learning practice.

Innovation can be described as “a new idea or a further development of an existing product, process or method that is applied in a specific context with intention to create a value added.” [Kirkland and Sutch, 2009]

More often than not, it is the case that attempts to innovate simply become a very slight change in an existing model or practice. In order for the learning to take root, both the learning and teacher must be connected to the larger community and business culture. The one-size-fits all route does not consider the individual’s everyday role and if key insiders fail to support it long-term the benefits to the business fail to materialise. In general, if the learning culture in a business is not robust and rewarding, the desired results fail to appear.Innovationinlearning

However the cognitive loads of training are managed, ensuring long-term results is more than likely improved through a blended approach in a business that has a high impact learning culture. High impact learning organisations (HILOs) are “58% percent more likely to have skills to meet future demand” and have “37% percent greater employee productivity.” [Bersin & Associates, 2010]

It is clear that innovation is required, even more so in businesses that are global or even locally distributed. Variations in a learner’s interpretation of a single message or business value need to be made equally clear across all locations.

Research into education modes has identified that “the pressure to increase equity and improve educational outcomes for students is growing around the world” [TALIS, 2012 – Teaching Practices and Pedagogical Innovation]. Whilst there were regional variations in the types of teaching style in terms of perceived quality there were overall low levels of teacher collaboration, low levels of de-privatisation of teaching and low levels of reflective inquiry and in most countries “innovative teaching is related to higher participation in all co-operative activities.” [p.88]

The SITES report indicated the inclusion of the following would demonstrate an innovative practice:

  • Encouragement of effective and independent learning.
  • Proficiency and technological readiness to find, sort and evaluate information.
  • Communication and expression of the learner’s ideas.
  • Instruction that was considered and specifically tailored to the learner.
  • Recognition of equal rights regardless of gender, ethnicity, geography or socioeconomic factors.
  • Removal or breakdown of traditional boundaries of the classroom – particularly that of the teacher-student relationship.
  • Develop social cohesiveness and tolerance.

In my next blog I’ll be looking at open and social pedagogy, if you missed my first blog in this series you can find it here.


Martin Blazey, Senior eLearning Developer, Bray Leino Learning

In my blogs I will be talking about what to look out for in eLearning, what good eLearning might look like now and in the future, and what some of the most interesting ideas might mean for eLearning as well as a fixation on game-like technologies and how they might be good for eLearning.

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