‘Making Systems Work – whether in healthcare, education, climate change, or making a pathway out of poverty – is the great task of our generation as a whole’ and at the heart of making systems work is the problem of complexity.
Prof Tony Bryk, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, spent a week with people from the Learning Emergence network, leading a Master Class for practitioners, delivering two public lectures and participating in a consultation on Learning Analytics Hubs in Networked Improvement Communities (background). A key idea is that in order to engage in quality improvement in any system, we need to be able to ‘see the system as a whole’ and not just step in and meddle with one part of it.
This is an approach which links ‘top down’ measures of performance with a ‘bottom up’ approach to organisational improvement, including all stakeholders in understanding and analysing the problem and developing shared ‘aims and purposes‘. Having identified a ‘high leverage’ problem for improvement and a community generated driver diagram, attention is focused on processes which need improvement and will contribute to achieving the shared purpose. Commitment to a common measurement model and multiple rapid prototype interventions which proceed as part of a shared network of improvement, enable the networked community to ‘learn fast, fail fast and improve fast’.
These slides are from Professor Bryk’s public lecture…links on this page will take allow you to access some more practical slides from the Master Class.
six principles of networked improvement communities
1. Make the work problem-specific and user-centered. 2. Variation in performance is the core problem to address. 3. See the system that produces the current outcomes. 4. We cannot improve at scale what we cannot measure. 5. Anchor practice improvement in disciplined inquiry. 6. Accelerate improvements through networked communities.
Learning Analytics for NICS
The social learning infrastructure required for a successful Networked Improvement Community is both organisational and virtual. Learning analytics and virtual learning networks can rapidly speed up the process of sharing learning and feedback of data from prototypes and enhance the speed and quality of improvement. A workshop on Educator-NICs: Envisaging the Future of ICT–enabled Networked Improvement Communities shared current knowledge and know how providing an exciting vision for the future of learning analytics (leading to these reflections on Bryk’s work and learning analytics).
Tony Bryk: the extraordinary time we live in. Any one of these alone is tough. We need to improve all 3 at once! pic.twitter.com/mS0K6RdpZV
The Southern Educational Leadership Trust, The Hampshire Teaching Schools Alliance Bath Spa University, The Cabot Institute, University of Bristol The International Centre for Infrastructure Futures, The Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol.
Ruth, Chris and I have just spent an extraordinary week in Shanghai in an intensive, highly ’emergent’ workshop designed to reimagine educational systems (research and practice) as complex adaptive systems.
The event was hosted graciously by East China Normal University (Institute of Schooling Reform & Development), a Key Research Institute in the University of National Educational Ministry. We partnered with Prof. Li Jiacheng at ECNU as it became clear that our visions and values for systemic learning systems design are closely aligned. With further backing from University of Auckland, participants were invited from New Zealand, Australia, China and UK.
ECNU’s ground-breaking work is led by Prof. Ye Lan (CCTV interview), who is shaping national policy on reforming the school system to create more creative students with the qualities needed to thrive in the 21st century ‘age of complexity’. Shanghai schools leapt to fame when they topped the last PISA league tables, and part of this workshop was to examine our assumptions about what ‘good’ looks like, and how to assess educational quality for our complex times.
The workshop was expertly facilitated by Rob Kay from Incept Labs (Sydney), who specialise in the applications of complexity science to wicked problems such as organizational change and resilience. The Learning Emergence network is already growing as a result, and we expect a rich strand of collaborations to flow from this exciting meeting, so watch this space.
See below for more details of Prof. Ye’s influential work.
Professor Ye Lan was born in Shanghai in December 1941. She is currently Tenure Professor and a doctoral supervisor at East China Normal University (ECNU). Professor Ye is also Director of the Contemporary Chinese Basic Education Development and Innovation Base under the overall “985 Project” of ECNU; Director of the New Basic Education Research Centre; Honorary Director of the Institute of Schooling Reform and Development (ISRD), ECNU, which is a key research base of the Ministry of Education in China; and Counselor of the People’s Government of Shanghai Province. She is concurrently appointed as a member of the National Educational Science Planning Leading Group. Prof. Ye has formerly served as Convener of the Education Appraisal Panel of the 4th and 5th Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council; Vice Chairman of The Chinese Society of Education; Vice Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council of Social Services; Head of Education Department, Dean of the Faculty of Educational Science, founding Director of ISRD, and Vice-President at ECNU. Prof. Ye is an eminent scholar in the following key research areas: theories of education study, theories of education research methods, contemporary basic education of China, teacher education reform etc. Her major publications include Jiao yu gai lun (Principles of Education), Jiaoyu yanjiu fanfalun chutan (An Exploration of Education Research Methods) and Xin ji chu jiao yu lun (On New Basic Education). She has also edited and written a number of research series, and has published over 90 research articles. She has been responsible for various state key studies, and received many national academic awards.
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION 35 BERKELEY SQUARE, BRISTOL 30th October 2013, 1700-1830
This seminar will explore the issues and implications of seeing education, and leadership in education, as key protagonists in the search for social justice and equity as essential elements of democratic society.
The central question is “To what extent is it the role of educators to become socially active in addressing issues of social disadvantage and working to ameliorate the negative influence of a divided and divisive society?”
The seminar will start with the exchange of ideas relating to the nature of social justice, equity in society and the moral and professional duty of leaders. The facilitators will then offer perspectives on social justice in practice at local, national and international levels.
One of the emerging themes to be explored is the model of leadership that emerges from seeing schools as agents of social change and a means of securing equity and extending democracy.
The LearningEmergence team are prepping for the upcoming Learning Analytics Summer Institute, Stanford University (July 1-5). We’ll be running one of the workshops, exploring with colleagues from Stanford and many other places the emerging topic of Dispositional Learning Analytics.
During 2012, Australia’s largest children’s’ charity—The Smith Family—organised a series of parent/school engagement activities in Northern Territory schools that aimed to skill parents to confidently communicate with each other and collaborate with school staff to resolve student issues. Known as Parent Yarns—Learning Together, these sessions were facilitated by ViTaL partners, Julianne Willis and Marilynn Willis, who introduced the concept of ‘effective lifelong learning’ in considering how parents can best support their children to succeed at school. The Smith Family’s vision is to support communities in improving life outcomes for disadvantaged Australian children, with a particular focus on the challenges of working in Northern Territory schools where over 40 per cent of students are Indigenous.