Making Learning Visible
Ensuring that learners (and whānau) are able to access their learning anywhere, anytime
Supporting teachers to engage in making learning visible
Making learning visible must not be seen as ‘yet another thing for teachers to do’, but rather as a way of being, as a part of the organisational culture of a school or kura, and as ‘the way we do things around here’. For many it may represent a significant shift in pedagogy, as the teacher is genuinely no longer so much the ‘sage on the stage’ but also the ‘guide on the side’. This can be experienced as empowering, rather than threatening, by the teacher. The learning is accessible anywhere, any time, and learners have ‘agency’, the
power to determine to some degree their pathway into their learning, within the limits of ‘prior knowledge’.
Begin with a kōrero on pedagogy: what are your agreed mechanisms for causing learning. What are your non-negotiables? This is the shared understanding of how you will cause learning in this hybrid environment. Visible learning is one such pedagogical approach.
Watch the video below to hear kāhui ako Education Programme Lead, Angela Taylor, share about the connections between hybrid learning and visible learning.
A significant contributor to our learners struggling to succeed has been because traditionally so much of the learning journey has been hidden from them, and their whānau. Now when you think about it, an invisible learning journey becomes like wandering through a maze with no clear direction, waiting for an expert to come and show you the way out. Which is a really frustrating experience.
The learning journey has been similar, with students unsure of what to do or how to proceed, and they just wait for the teacher to help, or they end up completing the task incorrectly because they miss some of the teaching or misunderstood a key concept.
In recent years, visibility has started to open up to our students through the focus on success criteria, achievement objectives, timetables, etcetera. Being displayed visibly, however, is only a start. And there is definitely more we can do to help our students aspire and achieve. The intentional use of technology to make teaching and learning visible has definitely been a game-changer, and hybrid learning has meant that more is being done to engage and empower learners to learn from anywhere at any time. Wherever they may be.
Through digital tools such as Google sites, they have the expertize resources and collaborative opportunities to not only continue on their learning journey but to accelerate that journey too.
Ensuring visible teaching and learning day to day within the classroom environment ensures confidence to continue when hybrid learning situations occur. Students understand that they are in control and that they have the tools at hand to help them be successful. They are not reliant on others. Yet, they also know that there are options available to them if they need further help. Visible learning does not replace the teacher. It enhances the learning journey and targets those students in areas that need further help.
It also engages students no matter what their learning style and encourages them to understand how they learn best. Therefore, for me, the underlying connection between visibility and hybrid learning is student success and engagement at all levels.
Visible learning and hybrid learning connections
Angela Taylor, a primary teacher and Education Programme Leader for the Uru Mānuka kāhui ako
When we make learning visible, what could this look like?
Content and learning activities are accessible to the learner, and to whānau, anywhere, any time. Interaction between the ākonga and kaiako, whānau, and a range of real world elements, is also enabled anywhere, any time. These are all enabled, and the impact amplified, using a range of digital devices and tools.
Watch the video below to see principal Gary Roberts share about the benefits of visible learning.
If we want our learners to truly be connected, actively involved lifelong learners, then visible teaching is an absolute prerequisite. Why wouldn't we want our teaching and learning to be visible? For too long, learners have tried to decipher what's going on inside the teacher's head and are trying to get the answer that the teacher is looking for.
Visible learning allows for rewind ability, so the ability to go back, check on the learning content, check on the learning outcomes and success criteria. Visible learning allows for our learners to be connected. Allows for ubiquity so the ability to be learning anywhere at any time.
It empowers our learners and provides agency, so the learner has the ability to act and take control of their learning. A big one is it actually breaks down barriers. So equity is a huge issue, especially for our priority learners. And during the times of the current COVID crisis pandemic that within a minute learning may be shifted from face-to-face, from in school to home. So our learners are able to continue their learning at home.
Why visible learning?
Interview with Gary Roberts, Hornby Primary School Principal
The right tools for the job
Choose the platform and tools you will use and ensure that these are used consistently by all staff across the whole kura. Do not accept the ‘oh no, this other tool works better for me’ response. Remember that schools are primarily for learners, not teachers. From a leadership perspective, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet,
to be directive.
From the learner’s perspective, consistency is essential. In the hybrid environment, it is confusing for the learner to be expected to use different tools, to see the learning content and engagement tools laid out using different tools, different vehicles, different ‘portals’ of access, depending on ‘whose class’ they are ‘attending’. This gets in the way of the learning.
Watch below to see principal Gary Roberts share about the importance of leadership.
Strong leadership is essential to embed any change. Leadership must be able to convey the benefits of visible learning. Staff must be convinced of the benefits in order to effect change. How leaders go about doing this?
One, this is about equity in removing barriers to learning.
Two, champion the affordances of visible learning for our learners regularly. Visible learning promotes connection, ubiquity and empowerment.
Three, lead by example take every possible opportunity to walk the talk showcase examples of visible learning. This can be done through your own personal blogging or commenting on student blogs.
Leadership and visible learning
Interview with Gary Roberts, Principal of Hornby Primary School
Leveraging the benefits for all of your learners
Talk with those other kura in your kāhui ako: if you are an intermediate or secondary school, those schools from whom most of your intake come; or, as a primary school, those schools to whom most of your children progress. See if you can agree on common tools and pedagogies. There is much power to be gained in terms of impact on learning by offering the learner a coherent approach to learning, a consistent ‘portal’ to, and set of tools for, learning regardless of age and stage.
Follow this link to hear Angela Taylor, kāhui ako Education Programme Leader talk about the benefits of visible learning.
Transcript for Angela Taylor, a primary teacher and Education Programme Leader for the Uru Mānuka kāhui ako, on benefits of visible learning.
When we talk about visible learning, we talk about the whole learning journey being visible and we expect the learner to be at the centre of that learning and for every part of the learning process to be genuinely visible to them.
Now this includes teacher planning and outlines the process the student needs to go through. It encompasses findings from recent research, such as micro-teaching and effecting feedback to name but a few. And for the best results, the whole function and progression of the teaching and learning journey should be fully visible.
Now, some may call it future-focused, but visible learning is about empowering the learners to take control of that learning. That's the benefit. It's about giving them the tools and resources that will support them to be successful so that they can learn anywhere, any time and any place.
Being visible also empowers our learners as connected digital citizens. When learning is visible and accessible, learners learn to make smart decisions about how they learn best and what resources suit their learning style and needs. At the heart of it all is that the learners gain the confidence to navigate around and create a learning journey that targets the areas of development and supports their learning styles.
Visible learning for students, whānau and others as learning partners does not just benefit the learner. Teachers benefit too. Using a tool like Google Sites, allows the teacher to organize text, images and videos in an easy to use format. Students are in the driver's seat, but it's the teacher that is directing the learning. Having written audio and video content in one place, makes curriculum content come to life, engaging the students to dig deeper. Google Sites also has the power to organize all of our teaching resources on topics, as well as the day to day classroom information
and stores them logically, making it the go-to for students and whānau. Once up and operational teachers find it saves them valuable time, meaning that it supports a more balanced home and work life.
Visible learning benefits everyone.
Benefits of visible learning.
Angela Taylor, a primary teacher and Education Programme Leader for the Uru Mānuka kāhui ako