Planning my Lit Review

I’m two months into an Masters of Education independent study project, which I cleverly decided to dovetail with a lot of existing work I was doing for my day job, or side job, as the case may be. I was invited to the Ride The Wave conference in Gimli, Manitoba and I had planned on giving a variation of my visual practice workshop to these k12 teachers. In March, I was invited by the Instructional Design Interest Group to give a similar workshop and I really wanted the opportunity to add some more evidence-based research to my session to make it more grounded in current literature and theory. The main issue is that these workshops focused on the individual and how we can improve teaching in learning for our learners. Since I’m in the administration and leadership stream for my Masters of Education, I have to be looking at bigger picture than the individual. More specifically, I need to look at the learning organization. In my first course, constructions of organization, we encountered Peter Senge and his 1990 The Fifth Discipline. We had only read a two chapters by Senge and I wanted to read the whole book, so this was a good opportunity to do that. Similarly, I’ve been wanted to really look deeper at David Sibbet’s Visual Teams so I added that to my list. A twitter mutual (that’s a term the kids use for people you follow, who follow you; not necessarily friends or colleagues, but you know mutually follow) recently told me she was doing her masters of arts on her work in graphic facilitation and I thought this would be an exciting addition to my lit review. I haven’t told her I’m doing that yet. I assume people would be happy to be cited but possibly not? I don’t know. The more time I spend in the academic side of academia, the less I know. Anyway, the other book I want to include is How Learning Works by Ambrose et al. I’m too lazy to include a hyperlink. You know the book. It’s great. Educational Developers call it the “ed dev bible” and I used it with the eCampusOntario Northern Capacity Building Initiative Extend project Teacher for Learning module. Finally, of most import, is I want to include Nick Sousanis’ Unflattening, both as an example of how a PhD dissertation can be a non-textual piece (A COMIC BOOK, no less!) but also because his content addresses how we should give space for visualizations.

In any case, those are my five big pieces, with about a half-dozen smaller articles that I’d like to include in my literature review for my study.
Concordia says I should have the following:

  • Objective of the literature review (this is my workshop abstract)
  • Overview of the subject under consideration.
  • Clear categorization of sources selected into those in support of your particular position, those opposed, and those offering completely different arguments.
  • Discussion of both the distinctiveness of each source and its similarities with the others

My objective is practical but slightly paralyzing. I want to enact this literature into a workshop session that can be used to improve an organization, specifically around teaching and learning.  Is that clear enough? Possibly it needs to be more specific. Hm.

This is the stage where I need to stop writing and start doodling to determine my “clear categorization of sources”. I could use Senge’s five disciplines: systems thinking, mental models, team learning, personal mastery, shared vision.  They match really well with Sibbet’s work; mostly because Sibbet cites Senge. It also matches really well with How Learning Works, which I appreciate because I think we often try to make learning like work, whereas work should be more like learning. Senge quotes Kolb and Schon, which further reinforces this for me.

At this point, I feel like I might fall down a rabbit hole because I think of all the articles I didn’t include but should: Wenger’s Communties of Practice; Garrison’s Community of Inquiry, and Liberating Structures. Yes, I definitely need to include Liberating Structures (but is it “academic enough”?) Uncertain.

Okay, I’m hungry. Gotta break.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *