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Interactive and Interdisciplinary Student Work: A Facilitative Methodology to Encourage Lifelong Learning

Blake, J and Illingworth, S (2015) Interactive and Interdisciplinary Student Work: A Facilitative Methodology to Encourage Lifelong Learning. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 17. ISSN 1466-6529

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Abstract

In order to support and facilitate continuous learning and a growth mindset, it is essential that students be exposed to learning opportunities that explicitly allow them to apply and practice what they have learned. (Dweck, 2007)This paper focuses on one such approach, taken in the My Learning Essentials skills support programme developed at the University of Manchester. This programme rests on a constructivist and collectivist approach that requires student engagement in the creation of learning opportunities and thus encourages students to apply what they have learned to a wide variety of opportunities and assessments, pushing the response to feedback or to an identified skills gap from specific assignments to skill progression and personal development. In addition, the facilitators of such sessions are also freed from the role of “expert” and instead act as knowledge builders with the rest of the group. This change removes the possibility of one “correct” answer and the assumption of eventual perfection and instead encourages the entire group to focus on understanding the process and progressing both within the session and beyond. Although there are still a number of questions to be answered, initial feedback and investigations support the assertions that students engagement in the creation of such opportunities leads to a clearer understanding of the efficacy of the skills involved and the power of the prior knowledge of the community.

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