Guest authors Camilla Audia and James Porter share their reflections on a learning experiment inspired by our Active Learning Design…
We encourage students to see themselves individually and collectively as capable and skilled individuals with a wealth of relevant and interesting personal knowledge and experience that they can bring to bear on any project. We provide scaffolded learning experiences and working processes to allow students to pursue their own curiosities about the world, conducting background and empirical research to answer their own questions and to build their own awareness and knowledge of the world. We invite students to engage their whole being in their work and to think beyond their identities as junior disciplinarians. We ask them to consider individuals, communities and nations with empathy and respect and to try to see the world from the perspectives of others – whether they be marginalized individuals, leaders, campaigners or world leaders. Finally we want our students to have the confidence, self awareness and reflexivity to work independently, to network and communicate with others and to pursue their passions in the world. The Live, Love, Learn approach draws together a range of theoretical perspectives and pedigogical tools, but at its heart focuses on three core elements.
The Live, Love, Learn approach to learning and teaching has been developed at Imperial College, within the Change Maker field of Imperial Horizons. This cross-faculty suite of modules allows students to integrate study of topics and subjects outside of their discipline into their degree. The Change Maker field of Imperial Horizons offers a range of module options that challenge students to learn and work in diverse and often new ways in their approach to global issues and the wider world.
Our Live, Love, Learn approach, which is used in all Change Maker (formerly called Global Challenges) modules, has won international prizes and recognition. The approach involves responsive, partnership curricula that involve students as masters of their own learning. The courses develop higher order working and thinking skills that have been recognized as valuable in their home departments and the industry setting.
I took the ‘Science and Communication for Development’ module as part of Imperial College London’s MSc in Science Communication. I thought it was an excellent module that really deepened my understanding of development.
Sustainable development had been a long term interest for me – indeed I specialised in sustainability when I studied environmental science as an undergraduate, and I had wondered, before starting, if the course would fail to challenge me. In fact, however, I found the module really enlightening. The learning approach allowed us to explore our own understanding of these issues whilst supporting us in critically examining approaches to development and offering complimentary perspectives from the main and not so mainstream. I actually thought this was the best module during my masters and often joked to my coursemates that all scientists could benefit from exploring these themes before they’re let loose on the wider world.
Science and Communication for Development
This experience made me appreciate that curiosity and out-of-the-box-thinking are the essential ingredients in the progress of humankind, and that only through teamwork and collaboration can ideas be materialised.
We worked as part of a team to find ways to understand and solve a problem then implement a sustainable solution for human development in East Timor. Through excellent guidance from our assigned mentors, we succeeded in creating a feasible concept that was selected as one of the best proposals in a national competition.
Design for Sustainable Development
Of all the lecturers who I’ve come across, Elizabeth was probably the most prolific and successful in embedding eLearning technologies into her course. As part of the ‘Lessons from History’ course, Elizabeth made use of technology on Blackboard to create an immersive team-based working environment. Each team would work collaboratively towards a piece of research-based assignment that would be submitted to a dedicated Blackboard portal. In addition, the tRAT and iRAT system that saw individual quizzing then team-based quizzing was a refreshing take on quizzes, challenging us to develop our own abilities then reflecting on them as we contribute to a broader team effort.
Lessons From History