Universidad de La Rioja (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 892-902
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
One of the objectives prioritized by the convergence process within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) is designing syllabi and teaching projects that are implemented using the student´s learning as a point of reference.
This study proposes a comprehensive, transparent and coherent system, where traditional teaching practices led by the teacher evolve into a teaching-learning process; the goal being that the student acquires certain skills. In this approach everything revolves around the student and his or her needs, aptitudes and attitudes - current as well as future.
For said process, seven basic stages are identified. Firstly, identify the needs of the students. Their needs determine the learning objectives and, later define the content to be covered. Thus, the necessary materials must be selected or created and a syllabus and timeline established in accordance with the teaching and learning methods deemed appropriate. And lastly, an assessment must be performed to determine the final qualifications.
Meanwhile, innovation in teaching practices also requires constant self-assessment in order to make decisions during the course regarding the implementation of prior plans, and then adapt those plans to new situations brought about by the practical implementation of the specific innovation proposal. With this approach, we can achieve a progressive improvement in our education program.
For years at the Thermal Engineering Department of the University of La Rioja, we have been conducting experiments on the teaching methods proposed by different studies, assessing and measuring: how the methods affect students´ education, the effort required of students and teachers, and the results of the assessment of the changes introduced by the study.
In our case, the research focuses on the preferences students demonstrate for different work methodologies. The objective is to evaluate their motivation and predisposition to participate in the teaching-learning process, bearing in mind that academic institutions have opted for a pedagogical model based on the premise that the student has a strong will and desire to be the protagonist of his or her own learning process.
The results are noteworthy, in that the vast majority of the students surveyed reacted positively to being able to choose between different methodologies to develop the same content. The students also revealed a significant preference for those options that offer a better mark-effort relationship, even if that means decidedly dismissing their protagonist role and interest, both of which the innovations intend to foster.
This study also includes a reflection on the fact that the study described herein is based on a pilot experience which cannot be readily justified academically the proposed educational model, despite the fact that this experience boasts great pedagogical value.
Innovation, teaching, methodology, motivation, EHEA.