Introduction:Since 1980, undergraduate student numbers in UK Higher Education have more than doubled. There is a changed student base and a policy of widening participation in Higher Education. Universities are faced with the challenge of educating significantly increased numbers of students with diminishing per capita resources. Pedagogical developments, particularly for undergraduate studies, have not kept pace with these changes.Method:The educational impact of such changes was identified as a result of observant participation and the issues were collected from student/staff consultation, academic educational meetings minutes and staff comments. During the same period there have been unparalleled developments in information and communications technology (ICT). It was determined that a more radical approach to undergraduate education, using tested educational theory combined with developments in ICT, could significantly assist the attainment of requisite learning outcomes.Results: A model was developed in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ulster to illustrate how effective independent learning can be encouraged through experiential learning which utilises problem-/project-based learning assisted by electronic information sources with parameters defined to meet the limits of the problem/project. Discussion:It is asserted that such an approach better prepares graduates for the current challenges of higher education and subsequent professional life.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of The International Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education 2006|
|Publisher||Higher Education Academy|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 26 Jul 2006|
Bibliographical noteMcLernon, T. & Hughes, D. (2006) A Model To Help Engineering Students To Learn Independently, Paper presented at the International Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education [Engineering Education Conference 2006, EE2006] and published in the Proceedings of the Engineering Education Conference 2006, EE2006, 24th – 26th July 2006, Liverpool, UK, ISBN 1-905788-11-8.
Reference text: 1. Boud, D., Keogh, R. and Walker, D. (Eds.) (1985) Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning, Kogan Page, London
2. Carragher, M., (2005) Meeting the Criteria for the Distinguished Learning Support Fellowship Awards, internal paper of the University of Ulster.
3. Gibbs, G., (1988) Learning by Doing; A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods, http://www2.glos.ac.uk/gdn/gibbs/, downloaded 23/6/05.
4. Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experiential Learning – Experience as the Source of Learning and Development, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
5. McLernon, T. & Hughes, D. (2003), Research Versus Teaching in the Built Environment Discipline, Proceedings of the CIB W89 International Conference on Building Education and Research, Edited by Newton, R., Bowden, A., & Betts, M., Salford, UK.
6. McLernon, T. & Hughes, D. (2004), Academic Accreditation of Work-Based Learning in the Construction Environment, Industry and Higher Education, (an international bimonthly journal) Vol.18, No. 2, April 2004, IP Publishing Ltd., Bedfordshire.
7. Project Based Learning in Engineering (2003) A Guide to Learning Engineering through Projects, 43/99 PBLE, University of Nottingham, Subject Area: Engineering, A project funded by the Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning; accessible at http://www.pble.ac.uk.