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Comparing Active and Didactic Pedagogies in Electronic Engineering

JACKSON, Noel R (2018) Comparing Active and Didactic Pedagogies in Electronic Engineering. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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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: 21 Jun 2019 14:03
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2019 14:03

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