Summary and reflection

Summary and reflection

In this first week you looked at student learning by drawing on your own experiences, the literature and the experiences of your peers. We looked at, read about and discussed student approaches to learning and the role of experience in learning.

Our students, our learners

Many of you commented on the increasing diversity among the student populations in your institutions and the support mechanisms in place for these diverse cohorts. How much are we taking this diversity into consideration when we are developing our courses? This is a question to take with you into the next course Introduction to Educational Design in Higher Education.

Beliefs about learning

In the comments on UNSW Beliefs about Learning some of you challenged the validity of one or more beliefs whereas others found it difficult to identify any one belief that was less relevant than the others. The belief that learning should be ‘situated and authentic’ led to some questioning of what was actually meant by this phrase. This page on the Curtin University website has an explanation of authentic learning and its benefits that you might find helpful.

Your experiences of learning

Clearly there is a variety of experiences of learning among our cohort, however, a common theme across the responses was that good experiences tended to reflect one or more of the beliefs about learning (or some variation of these) in the previous step. For example, being engaged in the learning (one way or another) was common as well having clear motivational goals for engagement in the activity. Bad experiences of learning were clearly passive and often inactive, or as many people described them, ‘boring’.

Theories of learning

In the comments on theories of learning some of you mentioned applying a constructivist approach in your teaching, whereby students draw on their experiences to construct new knowledge and make sense of what they are learning. Others pointed out that the teaching context can determine what theories might apply, so for example tutorials might be more student-centred than lectures.

Learning from experience

In your comments on learning from experience everyone identified some combination of theory, practice and observation as their ideal approach to learning and as Sonia pointed out they are interrelated stages of learning. In Week 2 we look at teaching and introduce you to some teaching strategies for different stages of learning.

We look forward to hearing your about your experiences as educators.

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

UNSW Sydney