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Validating group learning and its assessment techniques.

Author Blaithin McGrath, Mary Hannon, Padraig McGourty, Edel Costello, David Mullarkey, Mai Mitchell, Victoria Stevens, & Etain Kelly
Abstract This paper explores group learning using an enquiry based learning approach. Using this pedagogical approach engages learners to develop 21st century skills such as problem solving, teamwork and communication skills within third level higher education. The development of these skills is embedded across all four years of a Health and Safety Science based Programme. The scenario design and assessment modes are developed to foster authentic and relevant learning. There is a perception amongst students that group based learning can negatively influence overall academic performance. This paper challenges that perception and asserts that student achievement is reflective of ability, incorporating academic performance and skill set development. This is achieved through courageous and innovative programme design, challenging work based scenarios and aligned assessment techniques. A two-year study, using quantitative methods, examined student performance across all modules. Results of qualitative research carried out to date indicate that enquiry based learning, as a pedagogical approach, ensures students are more competent and workplace ready. This paper demonstrates that engaging students in enquiry based learning is a sound pedagogical approach and practice for a new decade.
Keywords Group learning, group assessment, aligned assessment, enquiry based learning, occupational safety and health, student performance, transferable skills, workbased learning.
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2010
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