#BYOD4L is co-hosting this week with #LTHEChat

The Chat on Wednesday 17th January will be a joint  with (Bring Your Own Device 4 Learning) – . This is a free open course where anyone can join in to explore how we can make use of our mobile devices. Running from the 15-19 January participants are encouraged to take part in the daily activities and daily tweetchats (2000-2100 UK time). There is a focus for each of the days and Wednesday has the theme of “Curate and Copyright”. How do we use our devices for curating content whilst ensuring we do not breach copyright? The questions will explore this and we hope that you can join in.

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#LTHEchat 101 Connected Curriculum with Prof Dilly Fung @DevonDilly

The next #LTHEChat Wednesday 10th January 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Dilly Fung on the dimensions of the “Connected Curriculum” framework.

D_FungProf Dilly Fung is Full Professor of Higher Education at UCL (University College London) in the UK. She is also Director of the UCL Arena Centre for Research-based Education, formerly the Centre for Advancing Learning and Teaching and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Drawing on a long career of teaching and researching across disciplinary boundaries, she regularly advises universities and national organisations across Europe and beyond. Her areas of research and leadership include: connecting research (in all disciplines) more creatively with student education, and empowering students to connect with one another and with local and wider communities (Fung 2017; Fung, Besters-Dilger and van der Vaart 2017; Carnell and Fung 2017), and changing academic career frameworks to ensure that individuals are rewarded for building on the synergies between research and education (Fung and Gordon 2016).

The Connected Curriculum framework highlights six key dimensions

  1. connecting students with researchers
  2. embedding a connected ‘throughline’ of research and enquiry into the design of all degree programmes
  3. creating interdisciplinary connections
  4. linking academic learning with workplace learning
  5. embedding ‘outward-facing’ student assessments, directed at specific audiences
  6. connecting students across phases of study and with alumni.

This LTHE discussion will explore the benefits and challenges of each dimension as they relate to different kinds of institutional and national settings.

To prepare for the chat, take a look at Dilly Fung’s open access book, A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education which offers both a values-based educational philosophy and a menu of possibilities for practice.

Follow her on Twitter @DevonDilly

Key links

Fung, Dilly. 2017.  A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education. London: UCL Press [Publication date June 2017]  https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/a-connected-curriculum-for-higher-education

Fung, Dilly. 2016. ‘Strength-based scholarship and ‘good’ education: The Scholarship Circle.’ Innovations on Education and Teaching International journal. Nov 2016. 54: 101-110 http://srhe.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14703297.2016.1257951

Fung, Dilly and Claire Gordon. 2016. Rewarding Educators and Education Leaders in Research-Intensive Institutions. York UK: HE Academy: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/rewarding_educators_and_education_leaders.pdf

Carnell, Brent and Fung, Dilly. 2017. Developing the Higher Education Curriculum: Research-based Education in Practice. London: UCL Press http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10032889/1/Developing-the-Higher-Education-Curriculum.pdf

The storify from the chat will be added here #LTHEchat101

The #LTHEchat organising team

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#LTHEchat 100 “Pedagogical considerations in physical learning spaces: university staff attitudes, practices, and outcomes”

The next #LTHEChat Wednesday 20th December 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Santanu Vasant on the topic of ‘Pedagogical considerations in physical learning spaces: university staff attitudes, practices, and outcomes’ and is the 100th LTHEchat and a Christmas Special! So grab your Santa Hats and Christmas decorations and enjoy this festive themed


Santanu Vasant is the Senior Learning Technology Adviser at the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, at the University of East London.

Leading the Learning Technology Team within the University, Santanu has a research interest in how staff are developed and empowered to use technology in their practice but also to make better use of the physical learning  space as a result. He also has an interest in how we motivate and engage those staff that don’t engage with CPD activity. Santanu has worked in Learning Technology since 2004 and has worked on projects as diverse as the issues of transition and induction into higher education (the subject of his MA Dissertation at UCL’s IOE (2012)), deploying PebblePad and developing activities for reflecting writing in BA Education, PGCert in HE and Business Studies (writing a chapter on this topic in Pebblegogy, 2011) and most recently working on Learning Spaces and writing a chapter on Bring Your Own Device Policy and Practice in Smart Learning: teaching and learning with smartphones and tablets in post compulsory education (2015). He is also a member of the Association for Learning Technology’s Communications Committee and a School Governor at the Northwood School, Hillingdon, London.

Web: www.santanuvasant.com | Twitter: @santanuvasant | LinkedIn: /santanuvasant

This is a popular quoted definition of a ‘Learning Space’.  Learning is the central activity of colleges and universities. Sometimes that learning occurs in classrooms (formal learning); other times it results from serendipitous interactions among individuals (informal learning). Space—whether physical or virtual—can have an impact on learning. It can bring people together; it can encourage exploration, collaboration, and discussion. Or, space can carry an unspoken message of silence and disconnectedness. More and more we see the power of built pedagogy (the ability of space to define how one teaches) in colleges and universities (Oblinger (2005, Section 1.1)).

Oblinger, D. (2005)  Learning Spaces. Educause. Retrieved from

https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/PUB7102.pdf Accessed 15th December 2017

In preparation for Wednesday night’s tweetchat, Santanu recommends briefly looking at:

Vasant, S. (2017) Reflections of Time And Relative Dimensions in Learning Space. Retrieved from: https://blogs.city.ac.uk/learningatcity/2017/10/09/reflections-of-time-and-relative-dimensions-in-space/

The storify from the chat will be added here: https://storify.com/LTHEchat/lthechat-100-pedagogical-considerations-in-physica

The LTHEchat team

Celebrating our 100th #LTHEchat

Golden Tweeter awardWe are delighted to award Golden Tweeter awards to two members of the #LTHEchat community who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to the weekly chats since they began in 2014. To find out who they are click here!  

The LTHEchat Steering Group

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#LTHEchat no 99 – “Digital education: participation as learning” with Cristina Costa @cristinacost

The next #LTHEChat Wednesday 13th December 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Cristina Costa on “Digital education: participation as learning”

Cristina Costa is a Lecturer in Digital Education and Scholarship in the School of Education, Strathclyde University.

Cris_webHer research focuses on the intersection of education and the participatory web through a sociological lens, especially Pierre Bourdieu’s key concepts.  She is also interested in broader issues regarding the participatory web in the context of a changing society. Cristina has a research record that links social theory to emerging academic areas such as Technology Enhanced Learning in an attempt to bridge existing gap between theory and practice. This has resulted in researching areas as diverse as Curriculum Innovation, Digital Scholarship, Literacies and e-Health. In 2013 she completed her PhD on the participatory web in the context of academic research: landscapes of change and conflicts. She is the co-editor of the Social Theory Applied blog/website:


Web: http://socialtheoryapplied.com/author/cristinacost/

Twitter: @cristinacost<https://twitter.com/cristinacost>

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialTheoryApplied

Participatory culture can be characterized by

“relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing creations with others, some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices, members who believe their contributions matter, and members who feel some degree of social connection with one another (at least they care what other people think about what they have created)” (Jenkins et al., 2009).

Jenkins, H. & Purushotma, R., et al. (2009). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture; Media Education for the 21st Century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

To prepare for the chat, Cristina suggests we read this useful summary about “participatory culture”: https://sites.google.com/site/odu307fall2012/resource-article/jenkins

The storify from the chat will be added here: #LTHEchat 99

The LTHEchat team

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LTHEchat #98 “Engagement through Playful Learning Experiences” with Katie Piatt @katiepiatt and Fiona MacNeill @fmacneill.

The next LTHEChat Wednesday 6th December 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Katie Piatt and Fiona MacNeill on Playful Learning.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAkvAAAAJGJiYzI4ZDFlLTc1NDYtNDgxNy1hOTVlLTlhNTBiMGUyNTQ3MgKatie Piatt has been working in the field of educational technology for over 15 years, with a wealth of experience in development, implementation and evaluation. Her research focus is on creating effective methods of engagement, particularly regarding playful approaches combined with technology. Projects include Leaderboarding the Future of Technology in Education (FOTE) conference and InfoBadges for recognising student information skills. Katie is a core member of the ALT Playful Learning Special Interest Group, happy to playtest any educational activities or take on the role of playmaker to run activities to keep everyone engaged.


Fiona MacNeill
Fiona MacNeill has been working in the Learning Technology field within Higher Education for eight years. A big part of her job is finding new and innovative ways of integrating technology into current teaching and learning methodology. This can include assisting academic staff with Virtual Learning Environments/Learning Management Systems, implementing specific software packages, maximising current technologies and championing new ones such as mobile devices. Fiona designed and implemented a game for the UCISA Spotlight on Digital Capabilities which augmented the proceedings of the event with opportunities for delegates to create and network which embodied the values and themes of UCISA.


Katie and Fiona tell us a little more about Playful Learning and this weeks chat.


Play and engagement are at the heart of the matter for members of the ALT Playful Learning Special Interest Group. Katie and Fiona, both from the the University of Brighton, are members of the group and bring you a playful learning themed tweetchat, with added doughnuts.

More information about the group is available at: https://altc.alt.ac.uk/plsig/ Do sign up if you are interested in the design, use and evaluation of games in practice, and the academic study of play and player communities and their potential contributions to learning.

And you’ll be pleased to know we have rejected 90% of the ideas put forward by the SIG to make this tweetchat more playful. To take part you will not need to crack codes, solve riddles or reply in emojis…unless you want to of course!

Make a free hour on Weds 6th Dec from 8 – 9pm to discuss what we mean by playful learning experiences and how we can overcome barriers to play.

Learning about how others have used playful techniques will hopefully inspire you to go and try out some ideas of your own. And share them back to the community.

Fun (and doughnuts) guaranteed. See you there!

The storify from the chat will be added here: https://storify.com/LTHEchat/lthechat-no-98

The LTHEchat team

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LTHEchat #97 “I can spend more time paying attention: lecture capture and in-class engagement” with John Couperthwaite @johncoup and Stephen Powell @stephenp.

The next LTHEChat Wednesday 22nd November 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from John Couperthwaite and Stephen Powell on lecture capture and in-class engagement.


AAEAAQAAAAAAAA2UAAAAJDgzZDhkN2Q0LTY5MTMtNGE1My05ZDI0LTA0Mjc0Yjc3MDRjYQJohn is an experienced educational professional who has worked within the higher education sector for over 20 years. His activities in technology enhanced learning have embraced leadership of large infrastructure projects, management of instructional design teams, and being actively involved in educational research, community engagement and software development.

At Echo360, he says he has an exciting and rewarding role, covering the EMEA region and working closely with global partners. His role is to promote and celebrate the educational use of active learning and lecture capture with Echo360, whilst also exploring how the platform can meet changing demands from learners, and evolving teaching and learning practices.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/johncouperthwaite/ 

Stepsphen has worked in education for over 20 years, initially as a teacher in the compulsory school sector, and then in Higher Education as a developer of innovative online programmes. He has particular experience in curriculum design and development to meet the needs of learners in the workplace and the use of inquiry-based approaches to learning, and patchwork text as a form of assessment. He has developed and managed numerous projects in higher education working with colleagues to develop new taught provision and improve institutions educational systems and processes using action research and systems thinking.  https://www.celt.mmu.ac.uk/about_celt/staff_details.php?id=48


According to a recent survey of UK HEI’s, lecture capture has now been adopted in over 80% of institutions (UCISA 2016 – https://www.ucisa.ac.uk/tel). Much of the demand is driven by students, and understandably so, as it is a valuable support for note-taking, revision and learners with special educational needs, though coverage across subject disciplines remains fragmented. Capture technologies have been continuously evolving over the past 15 years to improve the quality of audio-visual capture, the instructor in-class experience, and how students can interact with recordings, but how can these support a new demand for flexible access and improved student engagement?

This TweetChat will explore how the next generation of capture technologies, featuring polling, social interactions, and analytics, can be best adopted for active learning in lectures, flipped learning, blended in-class learning, and distance learning. Fans of lecture capture, skeptics and agnostics alike are invited to share their thoughts!

Stephen Powell (Manchester Metropolitan University) and John Couperthwaite (Solutions Engineer, Echo360 EMEA) will lead this #LTHEChat session.​

The storify from the chat will be added here: https://storify.com/LTHEchat/lthe

The LTHEchat team

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LTHEchat #96 “Building Cohort Identity through Social Media” with David Webster @davidwebster


The next LTHEChat Wednesday 15th November 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from David Webster @davidwebster on “Building Cohort Identity through Social Media”


Dave Webster is Head of Learning and Teaching Innovation at the University of Gloucestershire, where he is also a Principal Lecturer in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics. He has a background in Buddhist Studies, but has also spent years messing about with technology in learning contexts. He blogs at https://davewebster.org/, and is @davidwebster on Twitter.


How can we leverage the huge level of engagement in social media that we encounter amongst many students? While tutors often concentrate on the use of social media in specific learning tasks, and how to harness its power, this chat will focus on how we might have it contribute to something less immediate, but arguably even more important for engagement, and therefore for learning.


Cohort identity, the sense that a group of students are engaged, together, in a shared endeavour, is a valuable quality to nurture. It stands in marked contrast to neoliberal narratives, which encourage students to see themselves as separate brands, in direct competition to their peers. The sense of a shared community of learners facilitates deeper learning, a sense of a structured, supported, safe place to fail, and allows substantive, discussion and an honest exchange of ideas. Given the overwhelming and pervasive nature of the aforementioned individualist discourses, how much can we intervene to manufacture this sense of cohort identity?


This #LTHEchat will examine the extent to which Social Media can be means of this manufacture. What pitfalls stand between us and using Social Media to engineer a virtual community of learners, who recognise their shared learning interests, where this sense of community then spills into their face-to-face, or other on-line, learning experience?

Storify is now available at LTHEchat #96

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LTHEChat no. 95 – “Student Reading: Challenges and Strategies” with Margy MacMillan @margymaclibrary

The next LTHEChat Wednesday 8th November 8-9PM (GMT) will be based on questions from Margy MacMillan @margymaclibrary on “Student Reading: Challenges and Strategies”.

margyphotoMargy is a librarian recently retired from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. After many years of teaching students how to find scholarly information without seeing vast increases in their use of it, she began to probe more deeply into the challenges students face in reading scholarly works. This lead to a deeper engagement with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and work to scaffold student learning from text. She is insatiably curious about how students operate in the alien environment of higher education, how they solve learning problems, and what we can do to improve learning.

Over to Margy to tell us about her interest in this topic and help us prepare for the LTHEchat:

What is the problem with reading scholarly literature?

Little attention is given to scaffolding reading in most post secondary settings. Many academics seem to assume that students in their classes arrive in first year with the skills to read scholarly literature in the disciplines and tend to be dismissive of their struggles. The literature is full of references to ‘non-compliance’ and hallway conversations often categorize students as too lazy to do the readings. We ask students to read material that was never written with them in mind as audience and to use that material effectively in discussions and research papers. Often we expect students to assess these individual artefacts of scholarship as part of an ongoing conversation they have no idea is taking place among people they do not know exist.

Students, too, assume that as they have (for the most part) been reading since elementary school, that reading shouldn’t feel like work. When it does feel laborious, they become intimidated by the material and the discipline, and many give up on deepening their understanding. Compounding the issue, different instructors may mean different things when they ask students to ‘read’ – some require extraction of facts, others a critique and still others a conceptual understanding of a particular work.

Larger forces are at work as well – the amount of articles available to students grows exponentially, and the readings themselves become more specialized in language, method and tone. Students may be less familiar with sustained, deep reading. Instructors may face pressure to cover more content leaving little time for scaffolding this essential skill.

In this chat I’m looking forward to hearing how you see reading challenges in your courses and to unpacking what we mean when we ask students to read, and whether there are disciplinary differences in those meanings. Finally I am excited to hear about your strategies for scaffolding reading and for assessing when effective reading has taken place.

And speaking of reading… I have a number of readings to suggest…

If you have time before the discussion Weller’s work is really interesting – what the lecturers say about reading research outside their home disciplines – that they don’t understand the language, don’t know if the authors are credible, don’t value/understand the methods – is very similar to what I’ve heard from undergraduate students about the scholarly reading they’re assigned…

Weller, S. (2011). New lecturers’ accounts of reading higher education research. Studies in Continuing Education33(1), 93-106.

More, if you’re interested…

Chick, N. L., Hassel, H., & Haynie, A. (2009). “Pressing an Ear against the Hive” Reading Literature for Complexity. Pedagogy,9(3), 399-422.

Gillen, C. M. (2006). Criticism and interpretation: teaching the persuasive aspects of research articles. CBE-Life Sciences Education5(1), 34-38.

Jolliffe, D. A., & Harl, A. (2008). Studying the “Reading Transition” from High School to College: What Are Our Students Reading and Why?. College English70(6), 599-617.

Manarin, K., Carey, M., Rathburn, M., & Ryland, G. (2015). Critical reading in higher education: Academic goals and social engagement. Indiana University Press.

Roberts, J. C., & Roberts, K. A. (2008). Deep reading, cost/benefit, and the construction of meaning: Enhancing reading comprehension and deep learning in sociology courses. Teaching Sociology36(2), 125-140.

Rosenblatt, S. (2010). They can find it but they don’t know what to do with it: Describing the use of scholarly literature by undergraduate students. Journal of Information Literacy, 4(2), 50-61

Säljö, R (1984). Reading and everyday conceptions of knowledge. In F. Marton,D. Hounsell, & N. Entwistle (eds.)The experience of learning. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic, pp. 71–89.


The Storify from the chat:   https://storify.com/LTHEchat/lthechat-no-95-student-reading-challenges-and-stra


A reflection by guest Margy MacMillan after LTHEchat no. 95

WOW, the hour’s over already? I am so glad the volunteers looked after posting the questions as I could easily have become so deeply engaged I wouldn’t have gotten beyond Q. 1! Thanks to all the volunteers, and all the participants. I am especially grateful for the Storify as it showed how much I missed during the discussion. In reviewing the tweets, they echo similar conversations I’ve had on this side of the pond. Mostly we had little or no formal support for academic reading, and more or less muddled through, although we may not have been required to use scholarly articles and similar works until later in our programs or even graduate school. And many of us are still learning….

Reassuringly, although I understand that LTHE tweeters may reflect a more learner-centred end of the professoriate spectrum, there seems to be wide understanding of challenges students face in approaching academic texts (including  non-texty texts like art and video representations of scholarship), and a commitment to helping students overcome those challenges. The Storify is full of great ideas, and I’d like to isolate three themes I saw throughout the discussion – the power of discussion, the benefits of reading with questions, and the notion of selecting readings carefully, particularly for students early in their degrees.

Allowing students to discuss readings engages them in peer-to-peer negotiation of meaning, where they can deepen their understanding of the text through defending their interpretations and hearing those of others. It can also prompt them to share the connections the article has for them personally to build a group’s view of how the article fits with experience and other texts in the discipline.

Many people tweeted that they read with questions and encouraged their students to do so, in some cases providing starter questions to read for. This is terrific and can be very effective, as long as the questions align with what you mean by reading.

Finally the notion of choosing carefully what kinds of things you ask students to read while they are entering the discipline is, I think, a critical path to moving students from what Lave and Wenger would call legitimate peripheral participants to eventual deeper disciplinary identity.  Some of the faculty I worked with said these ‘on ramp’ articles were becoming harder to find as academic writing has become hyper-specialized – and I’m curious if that’s been your experience as well, or if you have some tips for finding these bridges into scholarly literature.

On a final note, I was very happy to see all the comments about involving librarians and I heartily endorse the strategy!… There seemed to be more mixed feelings on the change from 140 to 280 character limits.. I look forward to reading the results of any research on the impact of the change on #LTHEChat.

Thanks again for a great discussion.


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LTHEChat no. 94 – Copyright and Open Practice with Jane Secker @jsecker and Chris Morrison @cbowiemorrison.

The next LTHEChat Wednesday 1st November 8-9PM (BST) will be based on questions from Jane Secker and Chris Morrison on Copyright and Open Practice.


Chris Morrison is Copyright Support and Software Licensing Manager at the University of Kent, responsible for copyright policy, licensing, training, and advice. He was previously the Copyright Assurance Manager at the British Library and before that worked for music collecting society PRS for Music. Along with Jane Secker he is co-author of the second edition of Copyright and E-learning: a Guide for Practitioners (Facet), and also co-founded the award-winning copyrightliteracy.org blog. He is a member of the Universities UK/Guild HE Copyright Working Group, has a postgraduate diploma in copyright law from King’s College London, and is currently undertaking a Masters research project into the interpretation and application of copyright exceptions in UK higher education.

jane02Jane Secker is Senior Lecturer in Educational Development at City, University of London, where she teaches on the MA in Academic Practice. She is the former Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor at LSE, where she coordinated digital literacy programmes for staff and students including copyright training and advice. She is Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group, a member of the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance and the Universities UK Copyright Working Group, which negotiates licences for the higher education sector. She is widely published and author of four books, including Copyright and E-learning: a Guide for Practitioners, the second edition of which was co-authored with Chris Morrison and published in 2016 by Facet.


Jane and Chris tell us more about their passion for copyright and copyright literacy.

“We’ve been running the website Copyrightliteracy.org website to promote the idea that understanding copyright is important for everyone, but particularly those that are in higher education in learning and teaching roles. We’re on a mission to make copyright fun, engaging and empowering, perhaps not terms usually associated with copyright? But understanding what copyright protects, and also what copyright exceptions allow you to do is fundamental to being  a good teacher. We’ve developed a number of open educational resources to teach people about copyright, including Copyright the Card Game and most recently, launched just last week, The Publishing Trap, a board game of scholarly communication, publishing choices and copyright.

In this chat we’ll discuss the importance of copyright literacy as a foundation to open practices and how before considering what we want to share, academics and students first need to consider what content they own, what they use under licence and what is available to release openly. Copyright impacts on decisions about making your own publications open access, and releasing teaching materials as OERs. It’s also really important if you are considering developing a MOOC. However, we’ve found it’s often not well understood and tends to be a topic people shy away from. Games-based learning can take away a lot of the anxiety that surrounds copyright education as well as engaging the audience. Join us to discuss this and other topical issues.”

Check out their website https://copyrightliteracy.org/about-2/ for more information ahead of the chat.

The storify from the chat will be added here: https://storify.com/LTHEchat/lthechat-no-94-copyright-and-open-practice 

The LTHEchat team

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LTHEChat no. 93 – Problem Based Learning with Chris Owen @chrisowen1711

The next LTHEChat Wednesday 18th October 8-9PM (BST) will be based on questions from Chris Owen @chrisowen1711 on Problem-Based Learning.

Chris is a Teaching Fellow at Aston Business School in Birmingham and is the teaching and learning convenor in the Operations and Information Management Group. After a career in industry and consultancy prior to academia, Chris is interested in preparing students for the complexity and ambiguity of the modern business world and is interested in teaching methods that attempt to address this such as experiential and problem based learning.

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 12.20.53

 Why problem based learning?

In their future careers, students will often face complex, ambiguous problem situations. To cope in these contexts, they need a range of skills and competencies. Some of these skills are ‘hard’ analytical skills, but they also need other ‘softer’ skills such as problem structuring, self-management and a range of interpersonal skills.

Problem based learning approaches develop students’ abilities to tackle complex, unstructured problems which are closer to the situations they are likely to face in the future. There is some evidence that PBL improves students’ transferrable skills and engagement and can help with career readiness for business students.

What is problem based learning?

In PBL, which originates from medical education, students are presented with complex, ambiguous problem situations. Importantly, they do not have the knowledge to deal with the problem, part of the challenge for them is that they need to identify and gather the necessary data and understanding to tackle the problem. PBL departs from traditional didactic models of teaching; instead of a teacher, the lecturer is repositioned as a facilitator. No longer the expert, the facilitator empowers the student by supporting them in sharing the ambiguity of the situation whether at the identification, analysis or resolution stages. Faced with the introduction of uncertainty and ambiguity, students more familiar with the security of more didactic pedagogies may initially struggle to adapt to this different form of learning. Some may be fearful that uncertainty in the learning process may compromise fairness and consistency of assessment. Others may be distrustful of the process of skill development and the workload. As a group teaching method, students may be concerned about face saving and rapport.

Who does problem based learning?

PBL originated in medical education, but its application has broadened out into many spheres, and arguably it can have a role in all disciplines.

When and where do we do problem based learning?

At Aston Business School, problem based learning approaches are embedded in both second and final year modules to develop key ‘real world’ problem solving capabilities before and after their placement year. Elsewhere in the University, PBL approaches are used in other schools including, for example, Engineering and Pharmacy.

So what, why does this matter?

As teachers we have a responsibility to prepare our students for their future careers. We know that the level of ambiguity and complexity generally in the world is increasing. The pace of change and the sheer volume of data is challenging. One way to respond to these changes is to try teaching methods which give students the opportunity to develop their own capabilities in responding to these more complex and challenging situations.

An example of a Problem Based Learning Activity

In one final year module, we challenge our students in groups of five, to plan and execute a fundraising activity for a charity of their choice. We give them £50 and challenge them to raise as much money as they can in a 24 hour window of their choosing. They have complete freedom to design the event themselves, whilst complying with the University health and safety policies. This activity requires them to employ problem structuring skills, as well as developing interpersonal skills such as influencing, negotiation and team-working.

Results of last year’s activities


For a good introduction to PBL see (Savin-Baden and Major, 2004).

SAVIN-BADEN, M. & MAJOR, C. 2004. Foundations of Problem-based Learning, Maidenhead, England, OUP, McGraw-Hill.

The storify can be found here https://storify.com/LTHEchat/lthechat-no-93-problem-based-learning

See you Wednesday 18th October, same time, same place. 8-9PM (BST)

The LTHEchat team

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