The centrality of the individual – Jim Rickabaugh

The centrality of the individual – Jim Rickabaugh


This lesson is about the centrality of
the individual. From the interview with Jim Rickabaugh you can find out
why the learner is in charge of his own learning process and why this is
important for volunteers and the voluntary sector. After watching this
movie you are expected to be able to explain what is meant with centrality of
the individual. During watching this interview pay special attention to this:
Validation aims at empowering the individual. The individual should be able
to take control of the process and decide at what stage to end it. -Hello! First I would really
like you to introduce yourself and also to to tell shortly about your role
related to the VPL. -I’m Jim Rickabaugh. I’m the
senior advisor at the Institute for personalized learning in the United
States. It’s actually based in Wisconsin, but we serve school districts throughout
the Upper Midwest in the United States. My role here at the conference has been
to bring the personalized learning perspective into the conversation about
validating prior learning. Particularly looking at the connections, for example, among the primary goals of personalizing learning is to build the
capacity of learners to learn an informal environments in recruiting,
being able to learn in situations where there’s not even necessarily a teacher
presence because in life – that’s a reality – in school
there are usually teachers there, – that’s great, – it’s them where we need them, but
ultimately if we’re preparing young people for life we also need to build a
sense of efficacy and agency and strategies to be able to learn
regardless of the circumstance in which they find themselves. The connection with
validating prior learning is that the learning often that we’re trying to
validate occurs in those very same spaces – informal, not necessarily in a
classroom, although not exclusive from it. So, the sort of nexus of this really
is: how do we prepare learners for a world in which much of the learning will
be informal, won’t be driven by a preset professionally prepared, perfectly timed
lesson and but to have that learning be validated, being recognized, in some cases
monetized for the learners benefit. So, part of this whole, I think, emerging
redesign of learning systems that shift away from systems that have
traditionally been driven by instruction to systems that are driven by learning. -I
really love your statement about making your pupil to be the best teacher for him or herself, but if to keep it practical: how to do it? What are the tools? -Let me give you just a really simple and specific example. -Yes, I love examples. -So, we know from research that when learners set goals for their learning, so,
not goals we give to them, not goals that are in the curriculum but when learners
set goals for their learning coached by, supported by educators but when
learners feel ownership of that goal. Just that one step could drive more
learning then normally happens in a year. And it is driven by the sense of
ownership: it was my goal as opposed to I’m doing someone else’s work. When you support that then with learners to build a path to get there… And this is
typically co-created with the educator. Some example might be as an educator I
think I’m going to offer a seminar in this
topic that I think will be useful to your goal, here are
some strategies that I think I can introduce to you and support you in
learning that would help you be successful and here are some other
resources, but if this in that same conversation to then talk with the
learner about what the learner is committed to doing, what strategies do
they want to learn, what do they want. So, that the path is co-owned because
again if the learner has no input and no ownership, there’s no
commitment and so what happens often is as soon as the learner starts to
struggle, they bail out, they’re abandoned. So, starting with the goal, building a
path to get there and then they have the conversation with the learners. This is:
how will you know that you’re making progress toward your goal. And often
learners will say: well, if I’m doing the things that I create my path I must be.
Accept that: that’s not the point. The point is the learning. So, it’s an
opportunity to help learners think about data, information, feedback to inform
their learning, not just check a list that they did it. So, the purpose process
then is to help learners increasingly think about information they received in
the context of the learning they’re doing, to understand that growth of them.
What’s interesting is in some of the less formal parts of our education system:
boys club, girls club, Boy Scouts etc. have known this for some time. The whole
idea of earning a badge: are you doing that, what are the activities and you know if
you’re making progress. So, this isn’t brand new. It is supported by, –
each of those steps, – by a very solid research. The last step in that might be
then a conversation with a learner that says: so, how will you be able to show me
that you’ve learned this? And that might not be a question the learner can answer
on the front end, but part weights we were having some
conversations and it could be a traditional exam, except that we get
limited information from exams that are based on true and false or
multiple-choice typically and we ended sort of movement and this is toward more
representational sense, in other words a demonstration a presentation maybe even
teaching a fellow student because when that happens we have access to far more
information about what the learner learned and that process itself continues
the learning because in order to do a presentation or to teach I know not how
to integrate what I learned, I have to organize it and have to be able to
articulate it. So, that would be a specific example of it. -So, it looks like
whatever you teach your students, you teach them first to teach themselves, to get information, to make decisions. – It is the process because learners don’t
develop this necessarily in isolation, so there are time when you start smaller
and build… Obviously, younger learners aren’t going to be as independent as
older learners who have had more experience in it, but it is the goal. So,
it’s not that they go at this points along the way somewhere that I require more
support, and that’s fine and it’s natural, but our goal is when they leave us to
have a skill set and an inclination to be learners wherever in whatever
circumstance it might finally end. – But this approach can be used like in formal, informal or formal education – everywhere? -Everywhere, in any circumstances
including volunteer work, by the way. -Okay and could you talk more specifically
about volunteers? -Absolutely! -Because volunteers are going to watch
our interview. -The value of volunteering is actually multi-card. The
most obvious is I’m volunteering and I’m providing the service which is really
important. It’s important for the person providing the service as well as the
person who receives it. But the act of volunteering is also an
opportunity to try out skills, it’s an opportunity to experience an interaction
that might be different than in within the classroom all of which contribute to
learning. Now the value of the particular context of volunteering is that there’s
not an overlay of compensation, which allows that experience now to be prime in
itself. So, what I learned isn’t colored by what I made. It’s what I learned that
has its own value. The service I provided I gave freely not in exchange for money,
which makes that relationship less complicated, more able to be focused on
the learning and skill set, so in a volunteering situation feedback doesn’t
carry the sort of weight that a grade might, or in a work situation
compensation life. I create I think a pure environment for learning to occur. -Why is it so necessary for volunteers, for example, to be validated?
Maybe just not to bother them, to leave them, let them do what they want, to enjoy?
-Certainly, there are times when that’s completely appropriate. So, if you think
about the range of circumstances within which volunteering happens, sometimes it’s very episodic and it’s not even particularly planned. Do it because it feels
like the right thing to do and that’s exactly what you should do. There are
times when volunteering is done in a planful semi structured way because the
service needs to be delivered that way. But there also are times when
volunteering actually serves the learner, the person who is providing it as much
because it’s an opportunity for me to try out some skills, it’s an opportunity
for me to learn about people and circumstances that I wouldn’t know
otherwise, those are highly valuable opportunities and they’re not covered by
the valence of grades necessarily or compensation,
so they’re in some ways the purest form of learning. -In what ways
volunteers after being validated can translate their recognized competences
into labor market, business market? -Yes, so, part of that could be as while
developing my skills I am trying the volunteer environment and I could get
feedback that might not be as high stake as it would be in the labor market, but
having developed that skill I can now present evidence of my having had the
skill and applied it in a legitimate authentic environment.
I’ll be in a volunteer environment, but the people involved had investments, the
benefit was real, the skill set was demonstrated legitimately and so it
qualifies to be translated into another environment. -Ok, because this
interview is going to be used to produce an e-learning course, there will be
one lesson that is called “The centrality of the individual” and the
volunteers are going to watch this video that will be attached exactly to
this lesson. You think what are the most important things
these volunteers have to learn about this topic “The centrality of the individual”?
-So, the individual being the volunteer is a coastal recipient, so the
value to the volunteer is our narrative. First of all, volunteer for something
that matters because in that now carries purpose that know why you’re doing what
you’re doing, being clear: this is because there are
people I want to help. Is it because it’s an opportunity to
make a situation better? Maybe even it is an opportunity for me to gain some
experience and learn something I didn’t know before from an individual’s
perspective. Each of those might be present, they might be there in
combination but the maximum benefit comes from my being clear about it. So,
that in terms of the centrality individual in this
context you want to be clear about why I’m doing it because you get maximum
benefit when you’re clear about purpose in almost any endeavor. A second part of
that would be to look for mastery that is: how can I do this the best? If it’s
worth doing, it’s worth doing well and having done it well I walk away with a
sense of fulfillment and satisfaction and pride. If it’s an opportunity to
learn I walk away with now information I can use the next time I engage in that
task. All of what I just described are absolutely contained within the
volunteers inner self. -Ok, and what is really this
personalized validation process or personalized learning process because
there are standards, right? You can not skip standards, but then if you have to follow the rules how can we make it personalized? -Yes, so, the
personalization is in the path, so there may be their standards that must be met
in almost any endeavor. The opportunity for personalization is in the path to
get there, so we often talk about this, you know, it’s here’s the sequence of
activities. In reality in learning it’s far more meandering, it’s making
connections, it is not like a railroad track even though we often portray it as
though it is, and so the personalization is in creating the path to get there. A path
that has meaning and purpose for you, but that also builds the skills and
knowledge you need to eventually meet the standard, so what happens is to be
very clear about the purpose and the nature of the outcome, so that you can be
very creative and flexible in the path to get there. -Ok, it’s like a foundation for
building a house. -Exactly! -With several layers. -And we may have different rooms! Based on the size of my family, then
nature of my family and what we like to do. It’s still my house
and it still needs certain standards in terms of being able to sustain itself
and whether to have mechanical systems that work, but the house itself might be
quite unique to the family. -There’s a nice metaphor! That makes it clear. But then I have maybe a last blitz poll for you: I just ask you a question and you give a short answer. I’m very cute what’s the best advice could you give to people actually
going through validating process and people who are actually helping them
to validate them and how to make this validation process
successful and efficient? -My best answer is be clear about the purpose why are we
doing it and how does every element of what’s a part of it
serve that purpose. If that purpose is important to me serving that purpose
will provide you with the answer. I would just say: be clear about why. -Then the last question: your top three advices how to make a perfect portfolio? What to do? -Know what story you want to tell,
select information that helps you tell the story and then make that story
personal, so that my personality is ejected, but supported by information
that’s aligned with the purpose. -Thank you very much! _You ar welcome. -Excellent!

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