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Pilot Mentality: Pilot Mentality -- 185 -- Symposium

10:30 - 11:30 on Thursday, 13 September 2012 in 2.220

The ALT Conference is filled with sessions reporting on the outcomes of projects and pilots from across FE and HE. Institutions invest and spend time and money on trials with new learning technologies and pedagogies to discover their value to learning and the learning process. National organisations and agencies provide funding to for further research and projects.

The question though is do these pilots and projects result in mainstream adoption or not?

The essence of the debate is spread across two viewpoints.

Pilots and projects represent value for money and are a valuable tool in evaluating, experimenting and reflecting on the use of new pedagogies and learning technologies. They are a key part of embedding organisational change.


Pilots and projects are an inefficient method for the mainstream adoption and embedding of new pedagogies and learning technologies. They are of little value to organisations and are often used as part of a cycle of funding rather than organisational change.

A panel consisting of representatives from institutions and funders will provide a stimulus for discussion on the value or cost of pilots and projects and the impact they have had on learners. The panel will have five minutes to put forth their views and opinions on the issues at hand. There will then be an audience focused discussion with a final summary and comments from the chair.

5 mins Introduction by the Chair

20 mins Presentations from panel members

30 mins Audience Discussion

5 mins Summary from the Chair

Use will be made of voting technology to engage the audience and ascertain if the discussion has made them reflect or change their minds.

The purpose of the symposium is to engage the ALT community and reflect on the value of the pilots and projects that they undertake and the impact they have on mainstream teaching and learning.


A pity we can't pull Cathy Gunn into this as she is delivering a PechaKucha on Tuesday on the sustainability of funded projects that would be very relevant. However, she is hosting a separate symposium at this time. If it's OK with her, I'll take some notes at her Pechakucha and contribute it if it is appropriate.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012, 17:34

I've been on several funded projects (and seen many) that have died once funding runs out, yet my own main project started in 2002 with no funding has grown and grown. For the sake of getting a few people onside, we called our first online course a 2-year pilot, but after 6 months when the feedback from online students was good, we did a quick evaluation and decided to continue as an ongoing operation as opposed to a pilot project. Was it a pilot or not? Were we just trying to avoid objections? If we had formulated it as a real pilot would that have slowed or even stopped the development?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012, 17:40