ESRC Collaboration Labs Project success for Educational Research PhD student

Photo of Maria Liashenko

Congratulations to Maria Liashenko (a student on the PhD in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning programme) who was the co-leader of the SENDCode project which wontheESRC Collaboration Labs Project Excellence Award 2021.

The project was initiated by Manchester-based pre-employment support providers, SENDCode CIC, who found that traditional ways of progress measurement failed to appreciate the diverse starting points, barriers and pathways of their neurodivergent (ND) learners. To measure their impact on ND learners, SENDCode CIC needed a novel tool and they asked the project team to develop an innovative ND friendly tool to assess the progress of ND service users which would be more inclusive by being more visual, using unambiguous language and being focused on the priorities and values of ND young people. The research team worked within the Collaboration Labs programme that is launched by Manchester university and led by its programme Director Dr Rosalinda Quintieri. The team consisted of two doctoral students from two North-West English universities: Leneh Buckle (PhD researcher in Cognitive Neuroscience, Manchester University) and Maria Liashenko. Overall, the project created unique opportunities for the team and the partner to initiate a transformative change in the ND assessment process.

Maria commented that “Our research resulted in designing a values-based progress assessment tool for neurodivergent learners. I was happy to work with my co-researcher Leneh and the programme team who have helped a lot on the way to success. I owe this success to the TEL programme and rigorous theoretical and practical training I have undergone being a PhD student.” Maria is now working on researching ways that wiki technologies can enhance mediation strategies in English learning for university students.

Professor Don Passey (PhD in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning programme director) commented that “there are so many ways that research can support policy and practice. I greatly applaud this ESRC initiative, and Maria’s project was an excellent example of how PhD students can develop and apply their research skills and practices, focused on important policy and practice needs.”

Students from universities situated in North-West England participated in theESRC Collaboration Labs programme which provides support for postgraduate students and early career researchers collaborating with non-University partners on knowledge exchange projects.

Three Educational Research PhD students participated in other projects which were part of the ESRC Collaboration Labs programme, namely:

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