Implementing A Technology-Supported Model for Cross-Organisational Learning and Knowledge Building for Teachers

Published: 
Feb. 01, 2012

Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 35, No. 1, February 2012, 57–75
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article proposes that in teachers’ professional development, using the cross-organisational learning and knowledge building model (LKB model) might better connect individual and organisational learning and promote teacher professional development.

The following research questions were investigated:
1. Which are the main components of the LKB model adapted for the context of teacher development?
2. What kind of barrier inhibits the implementation of the adapted LKB model that facilitates teacher development, which is supported by existing online tools?
3. What are the suitable workflow scenarios that effectively support the application of an LKB model for teacher development?

Methodology
This study was conducted in the context of an EU IST programme project, Intel- LEO (2009–2012).
The authors conducted a case study of teachers’ professional development which identified and mapped the gaps in the LKB between the schools and universities, and among the various stakeholders related to the professional teacher development in these organisations.
For this study, two pre-studies teachers, three induction year teachers, two in-service teachers and three teacher trainers were interviewed separately in each group.

Data collection
The authors addressed the reliability issues of design-based research through several data collection instruments (interviews and schemas) and multiple iterations of data collection from the same stakeholders.
 

Results and discussion

The authors provide the developed and validated cross-organisational LKB model in the teacher development context with the support of e-portfolio.
The authors also discuss the barriers to be overcome when applying the LKB model.
Finally, the authors present scenarios developed together with the stakeholders.

Cross-organisational LKB model in teacher development context
This study indicated that applying the LKB model in a teacher development context could be successful as there are many innovative educators who are ready to test the LKB activities with technology support in their professional activities.
The proposed LKB model with the technological support might be effective from the point of view of individuals and organisations.

Barriers to applying the cross-organisational LKB model
Several barriers in the LKB between school and university may be identified based on this study and literature.
Participants who were involved in this study pointed out that not every teacher is ready to use the LKB model in their professional activities.
The main issues that should be considered are the teachers’ habits for documenting and externalising their knowledge, participation in cross-organisational communities of educators, and their technical preparedness.

Teachers’ habit for documenting and externalising their knowledge
According to this study, reflection is not used in professional activities of teachers.
In-service teachers’ main reason for not reflecting upon their activities appeared to be ‘the lack of time’.

Teachers’ participation in cross-organisational communities
There are several reasons why teachers do not feel part of the larger teachers’ community and why the pre-service, induction year and in-service teacher training are not a unified system.
One aspect is the perceived difference in professional status between the pre- and in-service teachers.
Another barrier related to the LKB model implementation in the teacher development context is the contradiction between communities of didactics and communities of practitioners.
This barrier relates to the in-service teachers’ communities.
To some extent, there are already small communities among teachers who are teaching the same subject, such as biology teachers or mathematics teachers.

Teachers’ technological preparedness
In this study, teachers emphasised the negative role of technology, rather than seeing how technology might enhance their professional activities.

Organisational barrier
Another important consideration in implementing the LKB activities is the organizational barrier.
Teachers pointed out that their school board does not support different activities related to professional development.
Furthermore, the participants mentioned that training courses, new learning materials created with technology, innovative learning methods and so on, can take too much of their time.

Applying the cross-organisational LKB model to portfolio-based system design
Together with different stakeholders who are related to teachers’ professional development, we developed the LKB scenarios for a portfolio-based learning environment.
These scenarios follow SECI phases across schools and universities, and thereby support collaboration between pre-service and in-service activities in schools and universities.
 

Conclusion

The authors emphasised that some barriers should be taken into consideration such as the intrinsic motivation of teachers, technical preparedness and the teachers’ weak sense of identity across schools and universities.
Furthermore, the authors suggested that teachers should be involved in the design process of the framework for the LKB model, and also in development of the scenarios with the technical environments.
The authors also provide some guidelines for implementation of the technology-supported model for cross-organisational learning and knowledge building for teachers.

Updated: Oct. 30, 2013
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