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Motivating Student Learning

Author Mark Dowling,
Abstract After more than 20 years in various sales and marketing roles, I have recently changed careers to lecturing business studies subjects within the HETAC framework. I decided to use the opportunity to conduct an action research project to address student engagement and explore strategies to encourage the students to take ownership of the learning by engaging in classroom activities. My concern therefore resulted in the following action research question: If students are encouraged to engage in open discussions regarding the course content, will this motivate them to take ownership of their own learning? The methodology applied in this research uses the five phases of Susman's action research model (1983). The five stages includes: diagnosing, action planning, taking action, evaluating, specifying learning and then repeating the process multiple times. I undertook two action research cycles to explore and respond to this question during a six week period which began in March 2011. My students were a small group (9 students) studying their 1st year of a higher certificate course in business studies. Having gathered data from cycle 1 and reflecting upon it, I commenced my second action research cycle responding to the learning and further needs which emerged during cycle 1. During this research I uncovered unexpected issues which are outlined in my findings: for example, differing learning cultures between second and third level education. I expect that the issues uncovered are not unique to my small group of students and other lecturers have had similar experiences and I hope that the recommendations provided in this report will be of use to the reader.
Keywords
Published In ICEP Proceedings 2011
Date 2011
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