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Teaching Matters

Volume 6 Issue 5 2013

ACTIVE LEARNING - one of learning's seven inalienable pillars

Perhaps you thought there were only four pillars of learning? UK HE guru Phil Race identifies seven factors underpinning successful learning, with the ever-important Learning by Doing, aka Active Learning (the subject of this fortnight's newsletter) third on his list. For those who would like to test their knowledge of the further six, the answers are given at the end of this newsletter.

On this theme of active learning, this issue contains:

BPU's Max Soyref on strategies for enabling students to build content in lectures, IBUS's Massimo Garbuio on team building, KEEPAD INTERACTIVE from Sam's Desk and feedback on the Business School's mid-semester feedback pilot.

NEXT ISSUE: feature on the Faculty Liaison Librarians


Enabling students to build content
Max lectures and tutors in the Business Programs Unit and shares here via video his readily adaptable (to your Discipline) ideas on:

  • student content building where students in the lecture room create the example/case study for analysis during that lecture, where an ongoing narrative is created, aiding deep learning.
  • the benefits to students of providing them with examples they can relate to


IBUS Lecturer Massimo Garbuio shares with Teaching Matters two strategies below he has used with success to enrich team building and encourage reflective thinking.

The Marshmallow Challenge

This is a serious game with a fun façade, where students in teams are set the challenge of building in 18 minutes the tallest free-standing structure they can with 20 sticks of spaghetti, one metre of tape, one metre of string and one marshmallow. The process offers students the opportunity to learn how to collaborate creatively in teams to achieve innovative and workable prototypes. Lessons can then be learnt from analysing which teams did better and why.


Doing Thinking Feeling Analysis

Students in teams work to address a business problem/opportunity (say, how to benefit customer experience of purchasing) where entrepreneurship and innovation are required.

It is usual for doing and thinking to be factored in to such exercises. Adding the requirement to identify feelings allows for the i) greater possibility for empathy (of students for customers and fellow team members) and ii) reflective thinking to take place, qualities greatly helpful to successful entrepreneurial enterprises.



Activate student learning with audience response system KEEPAD INTERACTIVE

These key pad remote controls encourage student participation by you providing your students with the means to i) choose an answer to a question from a range of answers shown on a PowerPoint slide, ii) have all their answers simultaneously and anonymously tabulated and published via PowerPoint, iii) discuss answers with their peers, and iv) finally learn whether and why an answer is correct or not.

The cliff-hanger situation you create with KEEPAD keeps students engaged and moving from a point of less knowledge and understanding of a concept you have sparked their interest in, to greater.

KEEPAD comes as a set of 60 keypads. More than one set is available.

If you are interested in using these eLearning tools please contact Sam Bizri or Wing Yiu


From Karen Ho
Executive Officer
Learning and Teaching in Business

Our very first pilot for mid-semester student feedback in the Disciplines of Finance and Business Programs Unit is now done. During Week Five students were invited via Blackboard and email to give feedback online, anonymously and voluntarily. The response rates for the three questions asked (Q1 and 2 are qualitative, Q3 is quantitative) are as follows:

  • Q1. 3450/9175 (37.6%) What is helping you learn in this Unit?
  • Q2. 3032/9175 (33.05%) What changes, if any, would help your learning in this Unit?
  • Q3. 5085/9175 (55.42%) Please rate your overall satisfaction with this Unit of study?

More soon from our colleagues in Finance and BPU.

Please contact Associate Dean and Director of Learning and Teaching in Business Michele Scoufis if you would like more details in the meantime.

Answers to Phil Race Quiz: 1) Wanting to learn 2) Needing to learn 3) Learning by doing 4) Learning through feedback 5) Making sense of things 6) Learning through teaching, explaining, coaching 7) Learning through assessing, making informed judgements

Race, P. (2010) Making Learning Happen, SAGE publications, London