The role of virtual placements in promoting self-regulated learning
Stakeholder experiences of an online learning community during the Covid pandemic
Keywords:self-regulated learning, virtual placement, pivot to online, Covid 19, textile conservation
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, universities had to shift much of their teaching online. This presented a particular challenge for work placements, which are inherently practical. This qualitative case study presents the outcomes of an evaluation of student, teacher and placement provider experiences of a virtual placement in textile conservation. A model of self-regulated learning used in clinical education was used as a lens through which to make sense of stakeholder experiences, in terms of supporting preparation for the workplace and setting of learning goals, facilitation of appropriate learning strategies, feedback from different stakeholders, and the need to support reflection on learning. Lessons learned include the need for earlier conversations between stakeholders to clarify their roles and support the successful attainment of learning goals, provide critical as well as motivational feedback, facilitate opportunities for peer interactions, use of a limited set of learning technology platforms in consistent ways, and formalising a mid-point check in with all stakeholders. While higher education in the UK has largely reverted to face-to-face learning, the benefits of virtual placements are highlighted. In the ever-changing landscape of higher education, a framework for supporting virtual placements has been offered.
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