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Learning-by-doing as a strategy for student engagement

Davison, Brian



Fans of TED star Ken Robinson (2006) will immediately recognise the benefits of learning-by-doing (LBD): it prioritises activity over passive reception, allows students the space to experience problems first-hand and encourages them to explore their own solutions. This has the potential to nurture students' creativity and self-efficacy, just two of the soft skills that are relevant to the 21st century workplace (Direitoa et al., 2012; Mitchell et al., 2010; Ferguson and Fernández, 2015). LBD is being recognised as a mainstream educational strategy in various subject areas in diverse parts of the world (Bamber, 2014; Kun Ma et al.,
2014; Frache et al., 2017).
This presentation describes experiences using an LBD approach with students in Scotland, France and China. In all cases, the teaching events followed a semi-structured pattern and were several hours in length. Nevertheless, students remained engaged and active throughout the class. There was also evidence of additional work being done outwith the scheduled class time. Student results and feedback suggest that the approach is effective in delivering academic content as well as a positive learning experience. The students were assessed using standard written reports and presentations. Evidence comes mainly from standard results and student feedback. Parallels are drawn with the concept of the flipped classroom and discussion will be welcomed on the applicability of the approach to other subject areas.


Davison, B. (2018, January). Learning-by-doing as a strategy for student engagement. Paper presented at Edinburgh Napier University’s Staff Conference 2018, Edinburgh

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Edinburgh Napier University’s Staff Conference 2018
Conference Location Edinburgh
Start Date Jan 17, 2018
Deposit Date Apr 24, 2021
Public URL

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