QAA Articles

Maximizing results from the shift to Active and Engaged Learning - guiding your QA preparations:

Required for your MoE licensing, higher education review and quality assurance assessment are the main principles of active learning, which we should be striving to incorporate into our teaching methods and course objectives; these include:

Authentic problem solving - both autonomous and in groups (collaborative enquiry).

Critical appraisal - such as the evaluation of website reference quality and constructive appraisal of peers.

Communities of practice - where students group together both in class and online to expand and consolidate their learning. Use anonymous online forums for segregated cohorts.

Connective and Expanded learning - inviting external professionals to offer authentic learning and interact directly with the students. This is a must, and easy to do, especially in conjunction with an online discussion forum.

Deep thinking skills - analytical thinking and debate, multiple responses, cognitive flexibility.

E-Learning - major learning support platforms, website, LMS, or simple discussion forums for each module, these form the backbone of engaged learning journeys.

Empowerment - the positive spiral of self-confidence, ensuring peer teamworking and positive feedback are so important; record feedback as it's important to prove constant direction. Simple but necessary.

'Flip' classes - quickly and easily change the dynamic of the cohort from passive to engaged and enthusiastic by promoting peer teaching: the Guide on the Side, not the Sage on the Stage.

Full inclusion - where we offer equal opportunities to all students; irrespective of Special Needs, gender, linguistic ability, peripheral learners and prior learning experiences (didactic/rote vs. active).

Learning Support - initial workshops and individual support for struggling students; utilise their peers' enthusiasm and colloquial empathy.

Plagiarism support - referencing, accepted academic norms and styles. It is easy to cut plagiarism by offering staff a specific drafting template to make grading and feedback easier.

Reflective praxis in the learning environment - adapting learning and teaching towards the preferred style of interaction and learning; co-constructed and empathetic; making the shift from Teaching & Learning to, Learning & Teaching, where the actual learning takes precedent over the teaching. Flip your classes.

Search skills - for autonomous research, use online learning journeys to promote peer teaching and flipping classes.

Scaffolded learning - recognition of the need to reduce barriers to acquisition.

Team-working - in class an d online. Important for your final years students.

All of the above are looked for in your assessments - an evidence trail will be required; your documentation needs to be in place asap.

These are just some of the improvements we can make for your institution and the way you work.

Do you have all of these aspects covered and the paperwork trail to prove it?

Use the above as an initial checklist and get in touch with us for a chat.

Dr Laurence Brown