Embracing the Hunt Report; engaging learners as co-creators of knowledge

Kiely, Etain, Mitchell, Mia and McGrath, Bláithín (2011) Embracing the Hunt Report; engaging learners as co-creators of knowledge. [Conference Proceedings]


The recent publication of the 'Hunt' report (2010) has articulated a vision for higher education which recognises the importance of active engagement, learner-feedback, technology- enhanced learning and generic skills development. A National study on graduate competences (NAIRTL, 2009) also highlighted the importance of integrating global generic competences into the curriculum. The challenge, however, for many higher education institutions will be in devising a coordinated roadmap to achieve this learning environment. This paper describes a science programme's experiences of embracing and implementing this vision through an outcomes-led, enquiry based learning strategy. This has required investment from management and staff in designing new learning environments with round tables, computer hubs, flip charts as well as the administrative task of coordinating timetables to enable interdisciplinary team teaching. The paper explores using examples how the science team radically restructured its programme to include a capstone enquiry based learning module each semester which empowers the learners to integrate and apply interdisciplinary concepts. The programme devised and aligned scenarios to embed and facilitate the cognitive load and generic skills development levels of the National Framework of Qualifications. First year learners engage as co-creators of knowledge through weekly repetition of a BASE (Brainstorm, Action Plan, Solve and Evaluate) model of learning. This aims to transition and empower first year learners to work in teams to integrate discipline specific concepts such as Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology to applied contexts. As learners progress through the levels, scenarios encourage employability skills development through working with real companies and community projects. The programme team has collated data through an action research iterative cycle of development for the last four years with the view to closing the feedback loop and enhancing the learning experiences. Evidence of the impact of this learning strategy is reflected in course work achievements as well as success at national level in winning national competitions and securing competitive work placements and internships.

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NAIRTL 5th Annual Conference.pdf

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