Designed for Learning: use of Skill Tracker in Veterinary education

Phil Lionel Ramsey, Sajid Khan, Jenny Weston, Neil Marshall


Although learning is a natural process, many of the systems designed to support education do not contribute positively to the experience of students. This paper reports on the design of Skill Tracker, a software system developed at Massey University to manage processes around student skill acquisition, and initially applied to the university’s Veterinary Science program. The software has been designed around guiding ideas relevant to learning in a professional context: the “progress principle” and Communities of Practice. The paper outlines how these ideas have shaped the design of the software. While Skill Tracker enables the university to collect data that informs the management of the Veterinary School, the underlying purpose of the system is to enhance the experience of students. In order to do achieve this goal it is necessary to understand a key dilemma in any educational innovation: the need to integrate technology and pedagogy.


Learning; Skill Tracker; System thingking; pedagogy; education innovation.

Full Text:



AVBC. (2016) Annnex 5 - AVBC Attributes of Veterinary Graduates. (pages 92-93). Accessed 21 May 2016.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press.

Bartram, D., & Baldwin, D. (2010).Veterinary Surgeons and Suicide.Vet Rec. 116(15), 451.

Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011).Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Maidenhead, UK: McGraw-Hill and Open University Press.

Brown, J.S., &Gray, E.S. (2008).A Short History of Learning.In Kumar, P., & Ramsey, P. (ed.s) Learning and Performance Matter.Singapore: World Scientific.

Blake, R., Mouton, J., &McCanse, A. (1989).Change by Design.Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice Hall.

Fritz, R. (1989). The Path of Least Resistance. New York: Random House.

Fullan, M. (2011).Choosing the Wrong Drivers for Whole System Reform. Melbourne, Australia: Centre for Strategic Education.

Gallwey, T. (2001).The Inner Game of Work.New York: Random House.

Gilling ML, Parkinson TJ. (2009). The Transition from Veterinary Student to Practitioner: A "Make or Break" Period. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 36(2):209-15.

Gyles, C. (2014). Mental Health and Veterinary Suicides.The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 55(12), 1123-1126.

Kohn, K. (2009). Computer assisted foreign language learning. In K. Knapp & B. Seidlhofer (ed.s), Handbook of Applied Logistics: Volume 6, Foreign Language Communication and Learning. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 573-602.

Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: legitimate peripheral participation.New York: Cambridge University Press.

Madiba, M., & Mwamza-Simwami, D. (2008).Landscaping e-learning research agenda in the light of Open Educational Resources.Proceedings of the World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, 1030-1035.

Mourkogiannis, N. (2006). Purpose: the starting point of great companies. New York: St Martin’s Press.

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., &Switzler, A. (2008).Influencer: the power to change anything. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Ramsey, P. (2001). Natural learning.

RCVS. (2011). Day One Skills: Essential competences required of the new veterinary graduate. Accessed 21 May 2016.

Senge, P. (1994). Moving Forward: Thinking strategically about building learning organisations. In Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., & Smith, B. (ed.s) The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. New York: Doubleday Currency, 15-47.

Weller, M. (2011).The Digital Scholar. London UK: Bloomsbury Academic Collections.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

Westera, W. (2015).Reframing the Role of Educational Media Technologies.Quarterly Review of Distance Education.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.