Book reviews

By David Mathew, Mark Atlay, Andrea Raiker, Peter Norrington, Mark Gamble, Mark Bowler and Averil Robertson

 

Making Learning Happen: A Guide for Post-Compulsory Education

Phil Race

Sage Publications. Second edition, 2010

Review by David Mathew

The first thing to notice about this book, of course, is the slyly provocative title. It is not 'Make Learning Happen' (i.e. Do It Now!), it is 'Making' – which suggests the furtherance of a continuing (perhaps even continuous) process of practical, 'hands-on' development. It is a title that mixes a certain sense of pragmatic reality-checking with a spirit of can-do hopefulness for the present and the future: much like the contents of the book itself. While the author offers a generous array of suggestions throughout, the clear message herein is that there are no quick fixes, that pedagogic alchemy is a myth: what we need are strategies, what will work are contextualizations, conditions and robust meta-systems of planning.

'People have been trying to make learning happen throughout the recorded development of the human species,' Race writes, early on; and he is keen to avoid the traps set by 'some academics climbing ever higher up their ivory towers, and some practice-based writers ignoring the wisdom which emanates from those towers'... Well, that's us told, is it not? It is clear from the beginning that Race has an agenda all of his own, and it is up to us to put up or shut up. By 'focusing on learners themselves' we will attain a state of pedagogic grace; by adhering to admonishments such as 'it is all still just information until they have done things with it to turn it into the start of their own knowledge' we are led to believe that we will be closer to cracking an academic code of sorts.

But perhaps, for all the occasional bluntnesses of language, the author is correct. Certainly it is both enlightening and depressing that Race senses the need to advocate a collective re-evaluation of our current practices of assessment and feedback. The reaction might be one of jolted denial – I do that already! – but the fact that Race includes gobbets of damning verdict such as 'assessment and feedback are weak links in our attempts to make learning happen' is testament to a belief that despite our decades of intervention, surveys, our reworkings of practice, our quorums and our think-tanks, we are considerably further behind in our development of an enriched and enriching learner experience than where we should be. Surely this is as robust an indictment as any. For all of Race's attitudinal can-do spirit, this book is a deeply sobering document; a reminder, if one were needed, of some of the lengths that we still have to travel.

Upon which roads might we find illumination? The book is crammed with academic pseudo-aphorisms – 'In short, we can't measure what students understand. We can only measure the evidence that students produce to demonstrate their understanding' – and the key messages, referring to the learner doing something, to providing feedback within 24 hours, to repetition of task, to the need to forget, revisit, forget, revisit… and then finally learn, are clear. Elsewhere, the author informs us that 'at present we often seem to undervalue the potential of learning through mistakes' and that 'adjusting the timing of feedback can make a lot of difference to its value to learners'. But what underpins successful learning? In Race's opinion, there are the interlinked elements of wanting to learn, needing to learn, learning by doing, learning through feedback, and making sense of things. All of which sounds like sage advice; but how are these goals achieved? Via wanting/needing, doing, making sense, feedback, coaching/explaining/teaching, assessing – all of these stages being steps on the way to the crock of educational gold known as understanding.

Frankly, some of the arguments seem simplistic, and some seem to mollycoddle learners, but the spry nature of the writing is infectious. However, for all the catchy spring of the prose, Race does not always triumph over cliché, and some of his jokes are stillborn: so after a while the reader learns to take in the substance and disregard much of the style.  Why not? We might not agree with everything propounded in this volume (I disagree with the idea of needing to 'shame' students into providing an answer when in a large group), but why should we? There is a very useful three-page checklist to adapt for your learners: not just what they should do, but why they should do it ('Don't think that studying is something you have to do alone'; 'Self-assess all the time' etc). There are excellent passages on assessment as learning, on making sense in large groups, but I do wish that some of Race's thinking had been more robust. For example, we are told that 'I've seen somewhere a figure for how long the average lecturer waits after posing a question before proceeding to answer it – 1.8 seconds!' It is not that I doubt the author, but it might have been useful to have read some further exposition on such negative commentary, or at least a reference to further reading, so that those who are interested might know where to go from here.

Although the book seems stymied in places by old-fashioned notions of what a lecture is, or should be ('Lectures are no longer just to give students information – if that's all we want to do, we may as well give each of them a data stick full of information' – but they should not have conformed to this model for some years now; perhaps they really still do!), and although there are some well-aimed barbs at the laziness that arises from the giving-out of handouts (prompting the reader's question: how has a situation been allowed to arrive that corroborates these views?), Making Learning Happen is a useful compendium of some new ideas and some old ideas presented in a fresh format. The word 'Guide' in the subtitle is certainly apt. This book is part-refresher, part-generator-of-ideas. Although Race seems reluctant to propound solutions (the implication being that there aren't many), he has designed a brisk read for busy practitioners, highlighting the virtues of seven specific applications.

Throughout the book, as mentioned above, the dichotomous gulf between saying and doing is evident, and the fact that this is a second edition implies that the author has several points that are worth repeating. In other words, we have still not got it right. I repeat: We have still not got it right. With his tally-ho dismissal of much academic writing, and his cheeky implication that his way is not only the best way, it's the only way, there is certainly no shortage of opinionated hubris about this book. And yet, curiously, even touchingly, there is a seam of self-doubt that also runs through the chapters, as if (by inference) Race is posing the questions: Can it really be this easy? Can it really be this hard? While he practises what he preaches (a rock-bottom simplicity of language, short punchy sub-chapters, a crystallisation of theories and previous research), the author slams, again and again, up against the brick wall that separates thinking from execution.

Most chapters end with a useful summary of what has been said (presumably partly for the really busy practitioner who does not have the time to read) and while the book may not constitute 'deep learning' in the author's own formulation, it is analogous with the anecdote he tells about a learner's need to forget information several times before true understanding might grow. In this light, certainly, Making Learning Happen is a book to dip into or to read straight through; more importantly, it is probably a book to learn from more deeply upon each reader's subsequent visits.

The SAGE Handbook of Workplace Learning

Malloch M., Cairns L., Evans K. and O'Connor B. N. Eds

Sage Publications. 2011

Review by Mark Atlay

This SAGE Handbook aims to provide a 'state-of-the-art overview of the field of Workplace Learning internationally'.  It is a collection of articles from well-known authors on the subject including David Boud, Paul Hager, Michael Eraut and Lorna Unwin.  The book is organised in three sections: theory, research and practice, and issues and futures.  The articles are wide-ranging and cover Workplace Learning at all levels and in a variety of different contexts.

No precise definition of Workplace Learning is provided but the initial chapter unpacks what is meant by work, place and learning.  The focus of the articles is on the learning of employees and on vocational and professional education, training and development.  This a complex area embracing competencies, professional values, implicit and tacit knowledge, the development of judgement through experience, and notions of individual and collective actions and development. In chapter 3, Knud Illeris explores this complexity in some detail emphasising the content dimension (knowledge, understandings, skills abilities and attitudes), the incentive dimension (emotion, feelings, motivation and volition) and the social dimension (interaction, communication and co-operation). 

The various articles provide a good overview of both the historical development of theories of Workplace learning and the current debates about its nature, support and development.  They focus on the potential benefits to the individual, the organisation in which the learning takes place and on the wider economic, social and community benefits drawing on both Western and Eastern cultural perspectives.  These competing 'drivers' set up interesting debates and challenges for those designing and delivering Workplace Learning – is the purpose to train individuals to be competent, to enable employees to move forward workplace practices in difficult and changing times or to contribute to the wider development of the social structures of the organisations of which they are part?  As pointed out in a number of chapters, lack of clarity about purpose and conflicting priorities leads to potential conflict between the purchaser, learner and the educational provider.

Workplace learning is a fast moving topic and the book is a timely addition to the wealth of published material in this area given the impetus of current changes to the funding of HE in the UK and its implications for further part-time study and greater employer-responsive provision.

The Handbook, as the name implies, is not a book to read from cover to cover but provides a valuable reference volume which practitioners in this area can dip into to extend their knowledge and understanding of current practice.  To some extent the 'Handbook' of the title is a misnomer.  There is no simple way of addressing the complex needs of workplace learners, their employers and the communities of which they are a part that can be delivered by following a simple recipe.  However, the articles do provide a valuable insight into the complexities of Workplace learning.  It will be of interest to anyone in the University engaged in developing courses for employers or for the professions and for those engaged in researching such practices.  At £90 for the hardback version perhaps not something to buy for your shelves but certainly a reference book to be purchased collectively or accessed through the library.

Inspirational Teachers, Inspirational Learners

Will Ryan

Crown House Publishing Ltd. 2011

Review by Andrea Raiker

I will deal first with the one questionable aspect of this stimulating and well-written book.  In fact, unless you are in education and primary education at that, I recommend going directly to the second paragraph of this review. Believe me, there are many good aspects to this book that higher education academics would find pertinent to their practice. But back to my critique. The Journal for Pedagogic Development is an academic publication; this is not an academic book. There is no reference list.  It has been written by a primary headteacher for school senior management teams and practitioners, focusing on primary schools, with the aim of stimulating '...hope for Creativity and the Curriculum in the Twenty First Century'. One of the reviewers quoted on the back cover declares that this book 'draws on a wealth of research'. Indeed it does, though wealth is too strong a word. There are references to educational thinkers such as Howard Gardner, Daniel Goleman and Guy Claxton and to influential reports and reviews, for example Robin Alexander's Cambridge Primary Review. The Cambridge Primary Review is based on a wealth of research, but this book basking in its glow does not substantiate the claim.  Will Ryan, the author, is not an academic. This is particularly evident when he writes about neuroscience in the chapter on creating a 'powerful' curriculum. There are no references given in his discussion of a highly complex subject, and the facts presented give the impression of 'dumbing down' the science to make it palatable for his readers. As this book is an 'examination of what our most inspirational teachers do in order to get creative and inspirational responses from children', Will Ryan would have been better advised to concentrate on illustrating his thesis with examples from current everyday living. There are a 'wealth' of these, and he uses them very successfully to communicate and justify his argument.

The book is particularly persuasive when the author concentrates on episodes, observations and reflections that have risen from his experiences over thirty years as a teacher, head teacher and local authority advisor.  The case studies, resources, anecdotes and apt references to experiences many readers will have enjoyed, for example The Simpsons and the poem 'Invictus', make this book an interesting read. The connecting discussion and arguments promoting the differences between the charismatic performer and the inspirational teacher is engaging and convincing. There are also points in this book that stimulate thought. For example, a useful figure is presented on page 16 which illustrates the structure of the link between inspirational teachers and inspirational pupils (interesting that the adjective 'inspirational' is used for pupils, not 'inspired', suggesting the inspiration resides in pupils and is locked by the teacher, not that the teacher transfers it). The structure begins with the inspirational teacher who plans for inspirational pupils through organising the development of thinking skills, enterprise, literacy and the arts, and awe/wonder/spirituality. It would be too easy to scoff at the latter as being typical of a certain 'soft and fluffy' primary school mentality. Throughout the book there is emphasis on values and underlying philosophy arising from interaction with the real world and people, and a focus on equipping today's primary school pupils so that they will be able to make sense of the complex world they will inhabit as adults. This clearly resonates with the ethos of the University of Bedfordshire's Education Strategy which is aimed at encouraging learners to know who they are and who they want to be and at stimulating a curriculum that is meaningful, active, challenging, reflective and collaborative. The structure finishes with a definition of the outcomes of the inspirational teacher's planning and interventions- 'Successful learners, responsible citizens, confident individuals who are independent enquirers, creative thinkers, reflective learners, team workers, self managers and effective participators.' This is CRe8 in a nutshell. This sense grows as one reads on.

My first thoughts on beginning to read this book was that, as it was not academic, there was little point in reviewing it for a Journal of Pedagogic Development. When the similarities with CRe8 and the university's employability agenda began to emerge I was struck by the realisation that a non-academic book written by an experienced primary practitioner had so much in common with a university curriculum initiative formulated by academics and underpinned by educational theory. Not only are the perceptions of desirable attributes of learners for future employment, citizenship and self-efficacy similar in both practitioner publication and university initiative; the attributes are applicable at primary and undergraduate levels. As one reviewer cited on the back cover writes, 'Although aimed more towards primary teachers, the ideas it contains are equally applicable to the secondary sector'. In other words, it appears that ideas expressed in 'Inspirations teachers, inspirational learners' could be applicable to all learners in this country and indeed to learners throughout their lives. This is why it is appropriate to review this book for a journal focused on pedagogic development. The book has been written to support practitioners in achieving pedagogic shift, from being teachers transmitting learning filtered through their own knowledge, aptitudes, abilities and biases to facilitators inspiring and supporting learners to construct their own curricula (within the legal requirements expressed in the National Curricula) and to learn according to their own learning preferences. This is the corollary to CRe8 and the University's Education Strategy.

English universities have strong traditional roots; academics have been teaching by transmissive mode for centuries, being the accepted gatekeepers of socially approved canons of knowledge and methods of assessing its mastery. The technological revolution, globalisation and shifts in economic and commercial power have changed all that. Acquisition and understanding of subject knowledge are still necessary...but all the knowledge any individual can need is available online. The pedagogic shift to ensure understanding in current and future contexts, the shift that 'Inspirations teachers, inspirational learners' has been written to support, is required at higher education level too.  That is what the Journal of Pedagogic Development was created to promote. So, as you are reading the Journal, why not give the book a try also?

High Performers: The Secrets of Successful Schools

Alistair Smith

Crown House Publications Ltd. 2011

Review by Peter Norrington

Why am I reviewing a book about successful schools when I work in a university? (Even though I have also worked in both primary and secondary schools.) I expected – wrongly – to find this book widely irrelevant, although of use in Education, and perhaps full of smug seven ways to self-improve guidance. I found it inspiring.

High Performers focuses on: core purpose, student outcomes, learner engagement, classroom teaching, roles and responsibilities, professional development, managing data, and the school as a community. These are clearly vital areas of interest to universities, and for that matter colleges and other educational environments too.

The key strength is that he presents what his research shows is essential to developing a successful, but never copycat, school for three different audiences: leaders, managers and classroom practitioners. His original research – sometimes counter-intuitive – includes not only these staff roles, but also the pupils, who are after all the ones who will do the learning.

This approach is holistic, rather than focussing on one role group and exhorting them to do better regardless of, or even despite, what the other roles are doing. Whichever role you are in when you read this, you can check that the others are getting advice that matches and supports the advice you're getting. Also, functional departments not directly involved in learning activity can also benefit within this whole.

If you are interested in autonomous learners and academics standards – and resolving the demands between them – you will get ideas to put into practice, to cut pointless activity, resist off-target initiatives, and engage with students. The semantic differences between the sectors are usually unimportant; the transferable solutions are valuable; the guidance is bold, evidenced and reasoned.

Currently, the significant shift in higher education is towards prospective, actual and past students deciding if an institution offers value-for-money for their own pocket. Offering challenging value-for-money degrees – in both learner and student experience terms – that will attract students and create successful graduates looks like a solid aspiration. And an aspiration that will stand future twists in policy and environment. This book can help you.

e-Learning Concepts and Practice

Bryn Holmes and John Gardner

SAGE Publications. 2010

Review by Mark Gamble

This book, first published in 2006, reprinted in 2010, provides a very accessible and useful perspective over the landscape of learning using online technology. Today, the term e-learning has less currency than it used to, with a much wider acceptance that it is a rare learning experience that does not include the use of online technology. That said, the title will be a very clear pointer to those coming new to the field, confronted with embracing technology in ways that 21st century learners will expect, and this is a book that will be very useful in that context, providing nine chapters of very approachable reading embracing, as the title says, both concepts and practice.

Bryn Holmes is an Assistant Professor in Education at Concordia University, Montreal and Director of a company offering research and consultancy in online education; John Gardner is a Professor of Education at Queen's University, Belfast. Their book falls essentially into three parts. It opens with four chapters that explore the genesis of e-learning and what it can offer. Inevitably, especially given the withdrawal of public funding following the banking crisis, there are references to sources and sites that are no longer available (BECTA, for example) and other technologies that have fallen by the wayside or been bought by more successful providers. Nonetheless, the perspective given in these opening chapters gives the new reader a very good overview of the development of online learning, especially regarding the accelerating pace of change!

It then moves on to the pivotal core chapters: 'E-Learning Theory – Communal Constructivism' and 'E-Learning Design – Concepts and Considerations'. The first aligns closely with our approach here at the University of Bedfordshire, promoting the use of active engagement among learners working together to develop their understanding. Each of the sections is clear and provides plenty of pointers for further reading, but none is particularly dense. The second of the two central chapters brings practical application to the theoretical background, connecting well-understood learning activities (case studies, fieldwork, labwork, problem-based learning, simulations, gaming) with the theories. Throughout the book, every page or two, Holmes and Gardner have provided highlight boxes inviting the reader to go online and find and explore a relevant resource.

The last three chapters continue the flow of the book from concept to practice by looking at 'Tools for Learning' and 'Learner Emancipation' before peering into the future in 'Endless Development?' Holmes and Gardner explore the use of some newer approaches and technologies, such as the use of Flash and re-usable learning objects (RLOs), together with the developing thinking around personalised learning. They leave us with questions about how technology will support the growth of more and more independent learning communities using freely-available learning tools and online spaces – so, if the idea of the Semantic Grid and a Communal Yottaspace ('yotta' = 1024) intrigue you, then this is the book for you.

Instructional Models for Physical Education

Michael W. Metzler

Holcomb Hathaway. Third edition, 2011.

Review by Mark Bowler

This book starts by inviting practitioners to approach their teaching using a 'models-based' perspective. Although not a new term (in the Physical Education community), the author suggests that 'the way' to teach the subject historically has developed from the physical education method, which relied on a direct and formal approach, to a later focus on teaching strategies, teaching styles and teaching skills. I suggest that this is somewhat similar in other subject areas. The content of this book is concerned with the latest movement in the search for better or alternative ways to teach and experience physical education and other subjects – this approach is called models-based practice (MBP). (Some practitioners in other subjects will also be aware of the term curriculum model, which is also addressed within the book). 'A model is designed to be used for an entire unit of instruction and includes all of the planning, design, implementation, and assessment functions for that unit' (p.13). Models therefore provide a more comprehensive approach to teaching and learning and could legitimately describe multiple methods, strategies, styles or skills. Although coming from a predominantly physical education subject background, I would argue that teachers across all subjects could benefit by taking a more holistic view of their pedagogical approaches.

The book provides a very convincing argument for adopting a models-based approach to teaching all subjects. Following an introduction to the framework for describing each model, the author presents an overview of eight models for physical education that have developed an international evidence-base. Each model has a central theme, which summarises its primary goal, as well as a description of its theoretical foundations, teaching and learning features and implementation needs and modifications. Many of the models originated in subjects other than physical education, and so the characteristics will not be unfamiliar to many educationalists. Additionally, several of the models designed for physical education, I would argue, could be applied across a range of educational subjects. In fact, I am already aware of models such as Sport Education (see below) being applied in the teaching of modern foreign languages. The most important thing for practitioners to do is select a model based upon their learning goals. Hence, Metzler suggests that teachers ask themselves the following questions: What do I want my students to learning about? What are my domain priorities? Which models have those priorities? To be true to MBP, practitioners must follow a model's teaching and learning features, ensuring that the required benchmarks are met by both the teacher and learner.

Any research that asks us to question 'how to teach' our subject is always welcome. It is at least refreshing to read something that isn't telling us 'what to teach'! This text provides physical education practitioners who have yet to experience MBP with a resource to consider alternative pedagogies for teaching their subject. For those who have 'joined the revolution', the book provides further justification for the approach and the opportunity to learn and apply different models. In my opinion, the text also contains much material that those in other subject areas could consider applying if they wish to expand and develop their pedagogy.

The author of the book is internationally-known for his work in models-based practice and has brought the research on each of the eight models together in this book. Although, at times, I felt that concepts could have been explained more concisely, the attention to detail makes this a key reference text for those at the forefront of the subject and profession. Given Physical Education's ambivalence surrounding its aims, a model's-based approach seems to overcome many of the problems associated with the commonplace lessons which are traditionally skills-based, multi-activity sport lessons. The 3rd edition of this increasingly popular book has surpassed previous editions and now seeks to make an even greater pedagogical impact with its associated online community for physical education professionals to discuss and share practice (www.hhpcommunities.com/metzler).

Many of you will be interested in knowing more about thee models presented in the book, so I summarise these below, along with their respective themes:

Eight pedagogical models and their major themes (Adapted from Metzler, 2011)

Direct Instruction – Teacher as Instructional Leader

Personalized System for Instruction – Students Progress as Fast as They Can or as Slowly as They Need

Cooperative Learning – Students Learning With, By, and For Each Other

Sport Education – Learning to Become Competent, Literate, and Enthusiastic Sportspersons

Peer Teaching – 'I Teach You, Then You Teach Me'

Inquiry Teaching – Learner as Problem Solver

Tactical Games – Teaching Games for Understanding

Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility – Integration, Transfer, Empowerment, and Teacher-Student Relationships

For those who are interested, myself and colleagues at the Universities of Bedfordshire and Ghent are currently developing a new pedagogical model called 'Health-Based Physical Education' which has 'valuing the physically active life' as its central theme. If you have any questions about this review or the developing model, please do not hesitate to contact me (mark.bowler@beds.ac.uk).

Teaching information literacy online

Thomas P. Mackey & Trudi E. Jacobson (eds.)

Facet Publishing, 2011.

Review by Averil Robertson

This book aims to provide models of best practice for faculty-librarian collaboration in developing effective information skills instruction in the academic online environment. It is edited by a senior academic and a librarian at SUNY, with chapters co-written by faculty-librarian teams from a variety of academic settings, including the Open University and Manchester University, as well as a number of US institutions.

The book is divided into two broad sections: Blended and Hybrid Learning, and Open and Online Learning. Within these sections, some chapters focus on a different technologies and subjects, such as Wikis for teaching in the Humanities, and the use of Second Life for a generic programme that could be adapted to any discipline, while others centre on the process of and pedagogy behind developing and embedding online information skills teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The authors use a number of technologies, including Web 2.0 tools and Second Life, and discuss the pedagogy behind the development of the programmes, planning and assessment. Instruction is student-centred and emphasis is placed on the need for flexibility according to the needs and demands of different student cohorts and institutional settings. Each chapter is broken down under a standard set of headings that include a literature review, a discussion of the planning process and an evaluation of the impact on student learning as well as assessment of the learning itself, using a variety of means. All chapters include useful bibliographies, while many also have examples of worksheets and results of assessments. It would have been useful to have included more examples of the assessments, as many of them seemed to be self-evaluations, which are not a real measure of skills attainment, but there were some good examples such as the use of discussion board threads to evaluate learning. Such discussions also provide useful narrative information about the way students learn, their misconceptions, and so on! The inclusion of challenges encountered along the way, and the means used to solve them, provide useful guidance on pitfalls to avoid.

Librarians have long promoted the value of information skills development as a means of enhancing student learning and understanding, of developing critical thinkers who are able to evaluate the material they use for their assignments, to use it ethically (avoiding plagiarism), and by synthesising and blending the ideas of others with their own learning and research to create new knowledge. Information literacy is often confused with IT skills, and indeed the two are inter-related, especially with technology ubiquitous in everyday life. Many students (the so-called 'digital natives') come to university believing they already possess the skills needed to find all the information they need for their studies (usually by use of Google!) when in fact they need help and guidance even to learn how to search academic sources effectively, let alone develop the higher skills mentioned above. 

It is also widely understood (by librarians at least), as highlighted in this book, that the best way to deliver IL teaching is by integrating it into the curriculum rather than as a 'one-shot' session, delivered at point of need and subject-based so that students readily perceive its relevance to their studies. Librarians have had varying success in implementing information literacy programmes, often directly related to the engagement, or lack thereof, of academic staff with the process, and their knowledge of the standards involved, as well as the level of willingness to engage with the wide variety of technology that can be used to deliver instruction. As noted in this book, with many professional bodies (e.g. the RCN) now developing their own standards in line with those produced by the information community, and with many institutions including information literacy as a desirable attribute both for academic success and future employability, as well as making it a requirement in curriculum development, it is vitally important that teaching staff and those who plan and develop teaching programmes recognise the importance of good  information literacy skills to their students.

From a librarian's perspective, this is an exciting book that pulls together current practice and provides practical instruction to inspire those of us who are currently working in the field; a quick search of the literature revealed that, while there are some publications on the use of the online environment for delivering information skills instruction, there are very few titles on faculty-librarian collaboration in existence, so this is a welcome addition to the genre.  Much is made of the necessity for collaboration between institutional teams for effective working, with the recommendation that not only librarians and faculty be involved, but also stakeholders such as students, IT staff, media specialists and those designing the curriculum, much as Gilly Salmon advocates in her Carpe Diem model. I was left with a strong sense of the dedication and enthusiasm of the teams, and their shared commitment to their goals; many had to work on these projects outside normal working hours, and several comment on the challenge of trying to engage other staff in their institutions in order to implement the programmes more widely, once the pilots were completed.

In our own institution, the Psychology department has embraced this approach, embedding comprehensive information skills teaching into the curriculum using a variety of technologies and tools (BREO, TurningPoint, PebblePad, SurveyGizmo etc.), assessing learning and crediting completion of IL tasks. For me, this book will provide guidance in the planned development of more formal assessment measures, and is recommended reading for any members of staff who wish to find out more about the practical aspects of introducing similar initiatives, or indeed developing generic policies and procedures. As the Open University team says: 'As educators we owe it to our students to prepare them for the work contexts in which they practise.'

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