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Using Enquiry Based Learning to Create an Engaging Learning Environment

Author Blaithin McGrath and the Occupational Health and Safety Team
Abstract This paper is a unique contribution from a team of lecturers and students who engaged with an enquiry based learning process in higher education. This approach was adopted across all four years of the Occupational Safety and Health Programme where lecturers worked in teams and merged interdisciplinary areas into scenario led sessions. The team worked with management to create an appropriate learning environment with round tables, flip charts, interactive whiteboard and computers to facilitate skill development in critical thinking, problem solving and team work. Each year of the programme undertook a mandatory enquiry based module and this paper reflects on the implementation and impact of this approach. Data was collected using interactive clickers from over 160 students and focus groups with lecturers. The evaluation led to revision of the handbook templates and a re-weighting of the process-product assessment criteria. This paper examines the steep learning curve for lecturers and students undertaking this approach and the supports required. The paper concludes with suggestions for future developments and lessons learned from practice.
Keywords enquiry based learning, interdisciplinary, resources, appropriate learning environment, interactive clickers, evaluation, templates
Published In ICEP Proceedings 2009
Date 2009
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