Learning Approaches

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Date Submitted: 02/15/2011 06:05 AM

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How can Learning and Teaching Theory assist Engineering Academics?


Mention the words Learning and Teaching Theory to all but a few engineering academics and the reaction ranges from one of complete disinterest and non-engagement, to downright rejection as being totally irrelevant to their needs. So why should you as an engineering lecturer want to know about the theory of learning and teaching? In fact why should you need to know? Hopefully by reading the following few paragraphs you will at least see the benefit to read on, or ideally you will be convinced that acquisition of more knowledge will genuinely support your learning and teaching and ultimately benefit your students.

Concepts about learning and teaching

People think about learning and teaching in different ways, if students, lecturers and managers all think about the process in different ways this can lead to some extremely frustrating conflicts, so it is important that we aware of the differences

Learning styles

• Different students have different learning styles. So what? What are they and what can we / should we do about it?

• Deep and surface learning - a powerful principle with some disastrous misinterpretations or over simplifications that must be avoided.

Problem solving

Problem solving is the backbone to engineering. Why do so many new students have difficulty with the problem solving process and how do we teach them to do it.

Intended learning outcomes

• We have to write Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) and Assessment Criteria for our coursework. However what do students need to be able to do in order to be able to learn effectively? Many students do need to learn how to learn and perhaps we therefore need Required Attributes for Learning.

• Engineering degree programmes are quite expansive ranging from bachelors to masters and within each the expected and accepted level of competence changes just as it does from year to year within a...