About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6453-6460
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain

THE USE OF PARTICIPANT- CENTERED LEARNING IN A SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS SCHOOL

G. Bick, T. Carmichael

University of the Witwatersrand (SOUTH AFRICA)
Models of adult learning and teaching have been well documented, and typically concur that the adult learning process is not a simple one. However, there does seem to be general agreement that adults learn best through experiential learning that is both active and collaborative. This active participation can be achieved through faculty or student-led discussions, case studies, simulations, or other problem-solving exercises, which require students to apply what they are learning. Research indicates that active learning can lead to greater comprehension and recall of learning content, and that this is particularly relevant when teaching concepts such as decision-making and other courses found in MBA and executive education programmes at Business Schools.

Kirkpatrick’s (1996) model poses assessment evaluation at four basic levels: post-course evaluation, learning, behaviour change, and results change. Utilising the real world experiences of case studies, with interactive and question-driven class debate, enhances the critical thinking abilities required for cross-functional assessment, as taught at Business Schools, and can at least move towards level 3 assessment of evaluating behaviour change.

From the foundation of academics at Harvard Business School (Christensen et al, 1991), the use of participant-centred learning has been utilised extensively internationally. At the core of discussion teaching is the idea of reciprocity between students and lecturers. While this method of pedagogy has many benefits, at the same time it has a number of challenges in execution. For example, the role of the lecturer changes from ‘professing’ to ‘facilitating’, which requires a different set of skills, and in a case study situation, requires that instructors know the material well enough to guide the discussion around the important topics.

This research paper addresses some of the challenges of utilising participant-centred learning in a Business School in a developing country. Some of these challenges include:
• developing of local case studies to make the learning environment relevant and applicable to the class
• addressing the issues of local culture: for example, using Hofstede’s dimensions of power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term, can case studies be used effectively outside the typical US culture, where local culture does not encourage the confrontation required for healthy discussion?
• appointing appropriately skilled faculty, as discussion-based teaching requires a different skill set
• meeting the institutional assessment needs (e.g. examinations) versus assessing contribution to class discussions and behaviour change as a result of the discussion-based teaching.

The paper is based on 10 years of experience in the use of case-teaching at Wits Business School, and concludes that some combination of conventional and discussion-based pedagogy is an appropriate model in the emerging market economy.
@InProceedings{BICK2010THE,
author = {Bick, G. and Carmichael, T.},
title = {THE USE OF PARTICIPANT- CENTERED LEARNING IN A SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS SCHOOL},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {6453-6460}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Bick AU - T. Carmichael
TI - THE USE OF PARTICIPANT- CENTERED LEARNING IN A SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS SCHOOL
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 6453
EP - 6460
ER -
G. Bick, T. Carmichael (2010) THE USE OF PARTICIPANT- CENTERED LEARNING IN A SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS SCHOOL, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, pp. 6453-6460.
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