How learning designs, teaching methods and activities differ by discipline in Australian universities

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Cameron, L 2017, 'How learning designs, teaching methods and activities differ by discipline in Australian universities', Journal of Learning Design, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 69-84.

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This paper reports on the learning designs, teaching methods and activities most commonly employed within the disciplines in six universities in Australia. The study sought to establish if there were significant differences between the disciplines in learning designs, teaching methods and teaching activities in the current Australian context, as was reported in Scott’s Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) analysis (2006). Although it found a broad range of teaching approaches are used in all disciplines, it emerged that there was still some bias toward the traditional discipline stereotypes, which in some cases has been found to negatively affect student engagement.

Additionally, while there was a general awareness amongst study participants about the importance of responding to student evaluations of teaching, improvements to teaching and learning practice were most commonly adopted without reference to current research or professional advice, and rarely was advice sought outside their discipline. Although a small-scale study such as this could not be said to be wholly representative of the higher education sector in Australia, these initial findings might indicate a need for administrators to acknowledge the role of quality teaching in maximising student engagement and its relationship to student retention by encouraging the study of learning and teaching as a routine part of lecturers’ practice.

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