Last week I met with colleagues to hear of eclectic approaches to assessment. It was delightful to witness plenty of impassioned discussion and a variety of approaches shared. Patchwork text approaches were considered at length. It surprised me that there were various levels of emphasis upon the place of the ‘stitching’. From my own use of this approach with learners I perceive there to be three highly significant benefits of stitching together the ‘patches’.
Firstly, in the stitching the learner can capture the learning from the processes that have been undertaken in the patches. Much of the learning that occurs as we make the patches perhaps doesn’t get captured in the activities submitted. In the production of patches there may be a layer of learning in the process of production, for example learning about technology and digital pictures, how an online community can support a task, that your job has more tasks than you originally thought etc. This function is not to become an overspill for things that could have been said – it is NOT a catch-all.
Secondly is the place of stitching in articulating any learning about the process of learning. This is critical. If learners are to be lifelong learners and are to cope and prosper in times of change then they need the skills to be able to see, understand and develop their own learning process, to become expert learners.
Thirdly, stitching is an arena for learners to consolidate and assimilate their learning journey in to their own consciousness. In pausing to reflect, work based learners are able to articulate their own position. They are able to take a birds eye view of the steps taken in making the patches and to consider, alongside their real world selves any resulting changes in attitude, belief or practice for instance.
Perhaps others seek, experience or perceive different key benefits.