Quantitative learning conversations: Constructivism and its application to learning in an engineering environment

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
ISBN
0 908557 54 X
Abstract 

The constructivist theory of knowledge and learning views knowledge not as pre-existing, but constructed. Individuals are different and these differences affect user performance. A recognition and awareness of learning styles will enable our students to develop learning strategies that will support them through their careers, assist our staff to present courses which address the needs of our students and industry, and promote quality conversations between staff and students addressing individual learning styles and approaches to learning.All our students are required to complete a Foundation unit in first year, first semester. This unit is a critical course for the students as it sets the groundwork on which all further study is dependant. The principal material covered includes essay and report writing, use of technology, ethics, critical thinking and project planning. As a result of our research into constructivism and the recognition of the value of students understanding their own learning styles, it was decided that some fundamental metacognitive skills needed to be available to all first year students. Due to the broad interdisciplinary nature of Foundation units, the School of Engineering decided to include a section on 'understanding your learning styles' into their newly developed Foundation unit with the aim of empowering our students in their university and life long learning requirements. This continuing phase of our research examines the learning styles of our students and staff and addresses issues confronting them in a university environment and beyond. This paper is presented as a series of questions and responses in a dialogic form.

Keywords: learning styles, foundation unit, constructivist theory, graduate attributes

Quantitative learning conversations: Constructivism and its application to learning in an engineering environment

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Fowler, L., McGill, D., Armarego, J. & Allen, M.