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A Case Study of an Innovative Professional Learning Platform Developed for Educators in Higher Education

Mrs Simone Poulsen,
Mrs Megan Du y, Prof Heidi Blair, Mr Daniel Tedman

Griffith University

Background: Griffith University’s Learning and Teaching community was looking for a searchable professional learning platform to host resources supporting development of teaching practices. Discipline-specific repositories existed but did not promote sharing lessons learned regarding practice across the University. Explore Learning and Teaching (ExLNT), a bespoke platform for sharing with colleagues, was developed to meet these needs. Methods: The project leveraged a newly created Agile project management methodology developed by the central learning and teaching unit. This was chosen to ensure early buy in from the learning and teaching community and planned cycles of feedback and evolving requirement identification for the development of the platform.

Once the platform moved from development to implementation, a Kanban-like process (i.e., change management and service delivery with a customer focus) was adopted to facilitate continuous improvement. We maintained the practice of gathering regular user feedback to inform the new functionality that was delivered on a regular schedule, into an environment where functional components could be interacted with and further evaluated. Findings: Over 300 entries have been authored by nearly 80 academics and staff across the University. Academics have found it is easy and fast to share their initial findings regarding teaching practices through the platform. Their entries have been shared through the social media integrations and that each resource has a unique URL.

The multiple searching functionality (i.e., keywords, tags, categories, and natural language search) enables discipline experts unfamiliar with learning and teaching verbiage to find content that supported their professional learning needs.  

Discussion: ExLNT has been established as the platform for sharing lessons learnt, professional learning opportunities, and innovative practice.
The tipping point for adoption was when entries in the platform were created specifically to serves evidence for performance reviews, promotion
and citations. In addition, the inclusion of sharing resources in ExLNT as a required element of a funding model for TEL innovation is an endorsement of the ExLNT platform.