Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Including Research-based Learning in a Unit

Including Research-based Learning in a Unit
If you want to include research-based learning in your unit, there are some decisions to be made.

  • Where to start?
  • What will the students do?
  • How will you make sure they’ll learn what you want them to?
  • How will you support them in their learning?
  • How will you assess them?

Research or inquiry-based learning is known to have high impact in terms of student engagement. Through engaging in various forms of inquiry, students develop the skills that they will need whatever they do when they graduate. All professions and industrial occupations require students to be able to critically investigate a problem, discern various forms of evidence and make judgements in the light of incomplete information. Units of study that introduce students to research are not just for the bright students who want to do postgraduate research and become academics. Research-based learning is for all students. Wherever students end up they will need to cope with uncertainty, be able to work in teams and communicate clearly and cogently. These are skills that they learn when they engage in inquiry in their undergraduate units.

I’m passionate about engaging students in research-based learning because I think it’s a fantastic way to provide a transformative learning experience. This is what Macquarie University aims to do.

I believe that we need to start to engage students in inquiries right from the very start of their degree. First year students don’t have to be discovering entirely new knowledge. It will be new for them. That’s the important thing. So whatever the size of the class, and whatever year of study, there are things that you can do to make classes and assignments inquiry-based. Click here for guidance on how to get going?