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5 Learning in higher education and its implications for 14 – 19 education and training

Lessons from higher education with implications for 14 – 19 education and training Miriam David Institute of Education, University of London

TLRP has 12 projects in higher education that illuminate issues for educational policy and practices with 14-19 year olds. Seven, on widening participation in higher education, were commissioned in late 2005 and are at an early stage in their development. Earlier projects include one on the effectiveness of problem based learning (PBL) in higher education oriented towards professional development, while the other four refer to undergraduate education. As a set, these projects have thus related to academic and vocational education for students at the upper reaches of the age group to which Tomlinson (2004) and the government skills white paper (DfES, 2005a) refer. The project on PBL, which was completed in 2003, could illustrate issues about this approach to vocational learning that would have some relevance for 14 – 19 provision. 17

Only one of the other projects – on enhancing teaching and learning environments in undergraduate education – has been completed, and the other three are still ongoing. The first, on the Social Mediation of University Learning, addresses social and organisational factors at an institutional level that affect undergraduate education. A second is the Disabled (Undergraduate) Students project which looks at higher education in various institutional settings, specifically to consider students’ views and perceptions of the changing provision for disabled students, with respect to learning in higher education. Finally, the ‘Learning to perform’ project asks: ‘How are musical performers created? Are there better ways of creating them? And can we apply our findings to other learners in different fields? ‘

These projects open up issues about the boundaries of learning and teaching between further and higher education, and also about adult and lifelong learning. They are all exploring student experiences in diverse contexts and circumstances, and the issues that affect both learning and teaching. They all hint at the ways in which educational policy developments or educational reforms transform the contexts of learning for students and young people.

They address in various ways the challenges of a more diversified kind of curriculum and pedagogy for higher education, and its borders with further

17 The project on the Effectiveness of Problem Based Learning in Promoting Evidence Based Practice, by Mark Newman, examined the proposition that Problem Based Learning (PBL) will assist students to achieve specific competencies in professional education. While, the approach may be particularly suitable to support adult learning, it may be that the approach to building up knowledge in PBL may be attractive for some 14 – 19 year old learners too.


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