Sharing Session: Fostering Diversity of Learning Experiences in a Residential College
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM
CDTL Dewey Room
16/12/2019 - 14/04/2020
The integrated academic and co-academic components of the RVRC Programme are grounded in established research that living-learning communities, by virtue of being smaller and connected, can ease student transition to university (Inkelas, 2008). After a strategic review of the RVRC Programme, the university approved a one-year non-modular extension, to build on the college mission to enhance students’ intellectual and personal growth. Recognizing this as an invaluable opportunity to foster diverse learning experiences that instil self-directed learning, the framework places students in control by enhancing choice and flexibility. Taught largely through experiential learning, students can choose from diverse options such as digital resilience, ecology and forest stewardship, heritage appreciation, conflict and project management, as well as local and overseas expeditions.
Using selected case examples, this study considered how fostering such a diversity of learning experiences, and enabling learners to co-construct knowledge, could enrich learning outcomes. Co-construction is a broad umbrella that encompasses different strategies. This study focused on the strategy of establishing learning partnerships; where the learners become active participants and construct knowledge in a collaborative approach. The strategy required significant engagement during lessons to maximize collaborative interaction during lessons, while enabling the learner to outline and achieve individual learning objectives. The study measured if learners were enabled to: 1) create partnerships that led them to relate concepts to individual and shared prior knowledge, 2) critically evaluate personal ideas and learn from others’ perspectives, and 3) provide feedback for the shared narrative of learning in the classroom. Data indicated that the diverse learning experiences prompted students to examine complex issues by delving into the underlying layers of interconnected of social, political and cultural factors. Results also indicated that learners derived benefits such as agency, enhanced engagement, motivation and learning, and enhanced meta-cognitive awareness.