The cartoon version of the Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching (MELToon).



Top Left Corner: starts with the original version of MELT, which is the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework, a matrix comprising six facets of research down the X axis. These facets are learning processes: embark and clarify; find and generate; evaluate and reflect; organise and manage; analyse and synthesise; communicate and apply. These facets are elaborated into five levels of autonomy across the Y axis of the matrix, from Prescribed Engagement (low autonomy) represented in red, along the colour spectrum of orange, yellow and green to blue representing Unbounded Engagement (high autonomy).

Immediately underneath: Educators, including student-tutors, academics and teachers, stand on a platform, think about the RSD and how they may articulate its six facets in their own models, including Problem Solving, Clinical Reflection, Project-based learning and Work Integrated Learning. These are all early versions of MELT that emerged to fit specific uses and ways of thinking. The six facets are the solid, crystalised, distinguishable forms of MELT when educators are making explicit the format of their learning design.

Underneath the platform: one of these versions of MELT, the Optimising Problem Solving pentagon is emphasised as a visually appealing and simple version of MELT in the shape of a pentagon, designed by students for students, and that may be a good place to begin one’s own modifications.

To the right of the platform, the educators’ models are being thrown into a cauldron, complete with fire underneath, that is in the centre of the cartoon, and highlights that the ideas underpinning MELT need to be heated with the warmth of human thinking and conversation in order to create one’s own MELT. Each model melts and becomes a golden liquid. To help us create our own version to fit our teaching and learning contexts, the central questions of MELT’s six facets are provided to give a sense of each:

  • what is our purpose?
  • what do we need?
  • what do we trust?
  • how do we arrange?
  • what does it mean?
  • how do we relate?

In the solid form, all MELT are like crystals with six facets, and these facets together provide structure, guidance and a form in common. In the warmth of conversation and thinking, planning and designing for engaged learning, the six facets become fluid thinking that fuels students’ in their learning journeys.

A funnel beneath the cauldron then pipes into a spaceship the liquid MELT, which is represented as a golden drop and labelled as a ‘thinking propellant’.

Along the length of the bottom of the page: the spaceship comprises three stages and has flames erupting from its rocket exhaust, providing a sense of dynamic propulsion and acceleration.

Bottom left: The first stage, is labelled ‘learning activities’ and encourages readers to consider how to introduce MELT to students, and how students may learn about the six facets of the golden drop in a variety of contexts.

Middle bottom: The next stage of the spaceship is labelled ‘formative assessment’ and asks the question ‘how will you enable students to develop skills and get feedback’? This stage urges you to consider peer assessment and self-assessment as ways of realising MELT-informed formative assessment. This spacecraft stage shows peers and instructors providing feedback on students’ thinking, in keeping with the six facets of the MELT thinking propellant.

The third stage of the spaceship, bottom right, is labelled ‘summative assessment’ and asks us ‘how can summative assessment launch students into their future thinking?’

Centre-right, students emerge out of the rocket ship’s nose-cone and fly through space with jet packs that are fuelled by gold drop thinking propellants.

Top right, students wearing jet packs head towards a variety of planets represented in different monochromatic colours that are the same as the colours used in the RSD’s levels of autonomy. The colours evoke the seventh question of MELT ‘how much structure and guidance do students need in each context?’ Students’ path in this planetary system is labelled as a ‘thinking routine’, representing students’ use of the six MELT facets as becoming part of the way they think.

This section of the MELToon asks us ‘how does your use of MELT connect with future MELT work? Previous MELT work?’ This evokes thoughts of curriculum connections across subjects in multiple semesters, and also trajectories well into employment.