TRANSCRIPT: DeakinDesign Principle: Active and collaborative
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Dr Micaela Spiers: My name is Michaela Spiers I’m a lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Law and I predominantly teaching to a first year foundation Work integrated learning unit called Professional Insight. we adopted active and collaborative learning in 2019 and it has been fantastic. So, from my perspective, it’s a really engaging way for students to learn, as well as for staff to teach and I think that’s a really added bonus that often is not talked a lot about. It’s a reflection on the real world, so when students go out into the real world and get jobs they’ll be working in a way that is similar to the active and collaborative approach that we teach in the classroom. It encourages deeper learning because students come to the classroom prepared and then it’s all about applying that knowledge, so they really then understand what the knowledge is about and it builds those really important employability skills and skills that are often difficult to teach like things like critical thinking, teamwork, communication, those sorts of things, so, as I said, we adopted it in 2019 and it is it’s been great we immediately saw an increase in student engagement, we saw an increase in student attendance students really loved it and being a first year, you know. One of the added benefits and that I think that can’t be underestimated, is that students actually work together in teams, so they start to make friends. And the more they make friends, the more they want to come and when you’re talking about the courses, like the Bachelor of Commerce, where students only perhaps see each other for an hour a week and then they’re in different classes with different students that ability to make friends, is a really important part of the retention process and them feeling like they belong at Deakin. We also found that students started to hold each other accountable, so we have activities that involve students having done the pre work first and the students get points that don’t actually even count to anything towards their final grade, but there is a small prize at the end of trimester and so they start to hold each other accountable, you know we’re not going to win if you don’t if you haven’t done the pre work so it’s really important that you do it. And of course we saw a increase in results, as a result of all those things, I think, as a result of the deeper learning, but also that engagement, doing the pre work, making friends all of those things translate into those better results and, as I mentioned at the at the start I also found the teachers and the seminar leaders became more energised so they really loved it, they said, the energy in the room increased, students were much more involved and, as a result, they found like they got a whole new lease of life on their teaching .So all in all, I think it’s been a fantastic experience.
OK, so the way it works and the way we do it in our classes that students are assigned pre work before they come to class and because this is a first unit that pre work is not onerous it’s it’s usually reading a small article and maybe watching a small video or something like that, so it means that, then when they come to class they’ve already got that first level of knowledge, so the whole time in the classroom is spent applying the knowledge, rather than having that passive learning situation where you’re actually trying to teach them the theory or theoretical frameworks you don’t need to do that because they’ve already done it and if they haven’t done it they’ve learn very quickly that they’re the only one that don’t know it, and their friends know it, and so, then the next week, they come prepared so they realise that there’s it’s important to be prepared and so as a result you spend that whole time applying the knowledge and that’s where you get to that deeper learning level of learning because you’re not you’re not having to go over this theory before they come so at the start of the class.