Creative experiential collaborations in Communications courses for the net generation

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

The Confucian statement ‘Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand’ reflects on the concept of experiential and transformational learning for postgraduate coursework in higher education. This work-integrated learning has a strong synergy with ‘net generation’ learners. Creative experiential learning in postgraduate communications courses suits the millennial, or net generation, learner who is time-poor, a networker with strong inclinations towards social or community knowledge pooling and a multiple media literacy, comfortable in virtual worlds and with visual emphasis. The perceived changing higher education role towards more learner- centred and performative approaches has challenged the development of postgraduate coursework within that learner context. Higher education is moving from a transmission or narrative model to a more contextually transitional model. The nexus of these two influences, the new learner and the higher education response to delivering learning, may be elaborated further from learning theory, which seems to be moving beyond social constructivist approaches, to encompassing what is referred to as connectivism. The case studies incorporated here provide two models: a workplace-oriented postgraduate collaborative team project in a communications course; and a virtual simulation for developing creative and professional writing skills at postgraduate levels. Whatever the theoretical underpinning may be, the large numbers of learners moving to postgraduate coursework or more workplace-oriented programs and subjects has thrown out the challenge to provide just-in-time, relevant and socially transforming learning with strong creative and imaginative engagement.

Keywords: net generation, virtual environments, experiential learning