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Abstract or description

A passive, didactic style of teaching has historically been common for large cohort
engineering teaching in Higher Education. By contrast active teaching designed to engage
learners directly is predominantly carried out using smaller class sizes and is often used in
workshops standardly involving some form of laboratory or practical element. This thesis
evaluates the viability of employing an active rather than a passive teaching pedagogy for
large engineering cohorts in higher education. It builds from the model of ‘curiosity-based
learning’ as previously deployed by the author for small engineering groups and utilises
the ‘flipped classroom’ model as the choice of active teaching pedagogy. However, rather
than use changes in summative results to measure the effects as most flipped classroom
models do, the research was designed to evaluate changes in learner’s views in a number
of categories. The categories tested included the importance of knowledge, skills and
improvement, preferred learning and thinking style, self-esteem and self-efficacy.
Results indicate some support for an impact on a learner’s desire to learn through
improved curiosity and that a learner’s preferred learning style can be affected although
this may be slanted towards improved teaching practice rather than directly to learning
style. There was no support for any changes to a learner’s preferred thinking style but
belief in a learner’s current abilities (self-esteem) is partially supported. There is more
support for a rise in a learner’s self-efficacy such that they take more responsibility for
their learning when exposed to active teaching – a key issue for budding engineers.
However, there is evidence that active teaching must take place in the correct context and
that learners are affected by the amount of additional study needed to prepare for lessons
leading to a reluctance to engage fully in debate. Interestingly, there could be a flipside to
this reluctance because the ‘fear of contributing’ to class discussion is seen to reduce.
Importantly, the study found that females showed more realism in their expectations of
their own capabilities and willingness to take on more responsibility for their own learning
when exposed to active teaching. There are also indications that students plan, organise
and question more effectively when learning in an active teaching environment.
These results have implications for choice of pedagogical model and curricular design and
indicate both the limitations and potentials of extending active teaching and learning from
smaller to larger cohorts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Education
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 15:27
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2019 15:27

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