Activity-based teaching for Unitec New Zealand construction students
Harfield, Toby; Davies, Kathryn; Hede, Joseph; Panko, Mary; Kenley, Russell
Citation:Harfield, T., Davies, K., Hede, J., Panko, M., and Kenley, R. (2007). Activity-based teaching for Unitec New Zealand construction students. Emirates Journal for Engineering Research. 12 (1) : 57-63.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2257
In 1993, Betts and Liow called for a shift from traditional ‘chalk and talk’ teaching methods to ‘active learning’ for construction students. However, this study appears to be the first to provide an active learning classroom for construction students. We set out to find evidence for a direct link between this specific teaching practice and student learning. A participant observation methodology was used to study classroom changes for one compulsory module of a first year construction course. Stage one of the study concentrated on devising new teaching strategies informed by recent research into the learning-styles of New Zealand construction students. Although the instructor was willing to try new teaching strategies, he did not have any experience of activities-based learning, and he questioned the efficacy of such changes. Stages two through four concentrated on development of data types, collection of data and analysis of data concerning the use of activities-based teaching strategies. The student and instructor feedback was positive concerning student engagement both in the classroom and in relation to the final assessment. In addition, the link between of the activities-based teaching and student learning was evident in a marked improvement in grades in relation to those from the previous class.