Why are We Here?

The mission of Higher Education is increasingly unclear, at least to me!

Pedagogies are evolving, and student learning approaches are perhaps not what they were 30 years ago. We need to get a better grip on the overall mission of higher education and the reason why we are all (academics and students) participating in this system.

I have held several talks recently on change and the role of subject education research "ämnesdidaktik" on the development of models for learning and teaching in higher education. Perhaps the most important insight is that we may well be forcing students down a path they do not wish to follow.

And there are terrible consequences to the movement towards student-centric and student-active learning in the context of modern tertiary education. The impacts are several, but for me the most interesting are

  1. For the first time, EVER, we propose to actually assess all learning outcomes.
  2. Students are expected to actively engage with our "overstuffed curricula".
  3. Active learning shows learning performance gains in isolation, but, when implemented broadly? What happens then? Student overload?
More information and research is needed, and in particular a more thoughtful and general debate, especially with students, surrounding the goals and impact of these shifts in the politics and discourse of higher education.


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