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Experiential Learning, by Design

Learning by Development (LbD) is said to be achieved through integrative learning in terms of pedagogy with environments set-up as platforms for innovation and hence transformative teaching. Transformative teaching goes hand in hand with formative assessments, feedback and competence-based learning that targets not just knowledge and skills, but attitudes/mindsets and behaviours (Learning Triangle), all of which in practice requires the willing cooperation of the students and a certain level of maturity on their part. Student adulthood (by virtue of their age) and maturity are not mutually inclusive.

It is interesting to note the President of Laurea University of Applied Science, Pentii Rauhala's comments to the effect that:

"Students who merely wish to gain credits as easily as possible are not necessarily too enthusiastic about the mode."

Rauhala, P. Learning by Developing LbD Guide, (2011, page 3)


It is also interesting that in other comments about the methods, he highlighted the requirement that students should not only be able to work in student teams (small-groups), but also be willing and able to cooperate with teachers throughout the learning process almost as if junior study and research partners. For more information about LbD and networking, read this PEPS paper or, browse our PEPS papers located under clients/resources.

One of the biggest and most consistent complaints from businesses about graduates coming out of higher education institutions is their inability or even unwillingness to work in teams and other collaborative groups. Multi-cultural study groups and the regular mixing up of groups are an important part of this learning process, for which personal conveniences and timetabling issues are not an excuse. These difficulties are an important and integral part of team-working and collaborative group processes. Alongside this is also the ability to deal with uncertainty and adapt to different teachers and course or study requirements. This is also an integral part of the learning process.

Unfortunately, many cannot adapt and try to control the process to the nth degree at the micro-level, from course assignments and study requirements to even the tests and exams, achieving nothing except to sour the atmosphere and disrupt the learning process for all. Others simply let go in the opposite direction and settle for acquiring study credits. Whilst the latter is preferable and better adapted to this learning process, both miss the point 'to some degree' or other. In an effort to avoid these issues and realities, attacking the teachers or the course and curriculum is neither clever nor acceptable just as it is a selfish and immature way of trying to avoid them.

In the West, free access to higher education is a civil right enshrined in law. This is all well and good, but it does not and should not mean an automatic free pass to graduate. Regardless of economic pressures, political expediencies and, reasonable attempts to help students with problems, some students should simply not be allowed to graduate.

If every student that entered higher education is allowed to graduate regardless of ability and conduct just to get funding from the government, graduation certificates from those institutions are not worth the paper they are written on.


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