Presentation at the HEA-funded workshop 'Activity or action? Theory and evidence to support the use of active learning pedagogies in Business Management'.
Based on a consideration of the constructivist underpinnings of Active Learning (AL) pedagogies and evidence from tutors who have incorporated group projects, business simulations and Problem-Based-Learning (PBL) into their courses, this workshop will support the notion that Active Learning pedagogies provide a radical and effective departure from traditional approaches.
This presentation is part of a related blog post that provides an overview of the event: http://bit.ly/1iCpOd3
For further details of the HEA's work on active and experiential learning in the Social Sciences, please see: http://bit.ly/17NwgKX
Active Learning: Activity or
University of Gloucestershire
Business Management graduates
• Typical Business and Management honours
graduates should have an enhanced ability “to
develop and apply their own perspectives to
their studies, to deal with uncertainty and
complexity, to explore alternative solutions, to
demonstrate critical evaluation and to
integrate theory and practice in a wide range
of situations.” (HEA, 2007)
• Active Learning pedagogies are “action-
centred” (Biesta, 2006) since they afford
students opportunities to respond in unique
ways to learning opportunities rather than
reproducing the subject matter of a pre-
What is Active Learning?
• Group projects
• Investigative Projects
• Case Studies
Constructivist origins of AL
• AL versus teacher-centred pedagogies
• Knowledge construction versus
• Collaborative versus individual learning
• Good questions versus finding answers
• Negotiation versus transaction
• Cognitive puzzlement versus gradualism
• Managerial messes versus structure
• Process or practice versus outcome
• Conversational Realities
• Rhetorical-responsive language use in messy
• Relationality and authorship
• The participatory nature of meaning construction
in complex problem solving
• Meta-cognitive skills and performance
• Reflection on formal and informal theories of
Group work processes
• Choosing group members
• Division of tasks
• Coordination of individual contributions
• Discussion, debates and negotiation
• Preparation and mutual support
• Peer review of contributions
• Task completion
AL as action-centred pedagogy
• Activity can be seen as:
• Imposed (teacher as authority)
• Predictable (a series of set tasks)
• Unreflective (students on autopilot)
• Action involves:
• Authorship (students pose their own questions)
• Indeterminacy (unstructured contexts)
• Metacognition (conscious reflection on skills)
• Which AL pedagogies are used/designed into the
courses at your institution?
• What are the experiences of teachers and students on
courses which use AL at your institution?
• Any other questions?
Readings on Active Learning pedagogies, constructivism, social
construction, action etc.
• Berger, P.L. and Luckmann, T. (1967) The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise on the Sociology of Knowledge, London, Penguin.
• Biesta, G (2010) Good Education in an Age of Measurement: Ethics, Politics, Democracy, London, Paradigm.
• Danford, G. L. (2006) Project-based Learning and International Business Education, Journal of Teaching in International Business, 18 (1), 7-25.
• Dochy, F., Segers, M., Van Den Bossche, P. and Struyven, K. (2005) Students’ Perceptions of a Problem-Based Learning Environment, Learning
Environments Research, 8, 41-66.
• Duffy, T.M. and Jonassen, D.H. (eds.) (1992) Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction: A Conversation, Hillsdale, Lawrence Erlbaum.
• Evans, J., Kerridge and Loon, M. (2013) Campus Based Students’ Perspectives on Strategic Management Simulation: A Contextual Study, World
Journal of Social Sciences, 3(2), 12-24.
• Gergen, K.J. (1995) “Social Construction and the Educational Process”, in Steffe and Gale eds. (1995), Constructivism in Education, Hillsdale NJ,
Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 17-39.
• Heriot, K., Cook, R., Jones, R.C. and Simpson, L. (2008) The Use of Student Consulting Projects as an Active Learning Pedagogy: A Case Study in a
Production/Operations Management Course, Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 6 (2) 463-481.
• Lean, J., Moizer, J., Towler, M. and Abbey, C. (2006) Simulations and Games: Use and barriers in higher education, Active Learning in Higher
Education, 7(3), 227-242.
• Meyers, C. and Jones, T. (1993) Promoting Active Learning: Strategies for the College Classroom, New York, Jossey, Bass.
• Nijhuis, J.F., Segers M.S., and Gijselars, W.H. (2005) Influence of Redesigning a Learning Environment on Student Perceptions and Learning
Strategies, Learning Environment Research, 2005, 8, 67-93.
• Plastow, N., Spiliotopoulou, G. and Prior, S. (2010) Group assessment at first year and final degree level: a comparative evaluation, Innovations in
Education and Teaching International, 47 (4), 393-403.
• Salas, E., Wildman, J.L. And Piccolo, R.F. (2009) Using simulation-based training to enhance management education, Academy of Management
Learning and Education, 8(4), 559-573.
• Savery, J.R. and Duffy, T.M. (2001) Problem-Based Learning: An instructional model and its constructivist framework, CRLT Technical Report No. 16-
01, Bloomington, Indiana, Center for Research on Learning and Technology, Indiana University.
• Schraw, G. and Moshman, D. (1995) Metacognitive Theories, Educational Psychology Review, 7 (4), 351-371.
• Shotter, J. (1993) Conversational Realities: Constructing Life through Language, London, SAGE.
• Steinemann, A. (2003) Implementing Sustainable Development through Problem-Based Learning: Pedagogy and Practice, Journal of Professional
Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, 129 (4), 216-224.
• Stinson, J. E. and Milter, R. G. (1996) Problem-Based Learning in Business Education: Curriculum Design and Implementation Issues, available at
• Takahashia, S. and Saito, E. (2011) Changing pedagogical styles: a case study of The Trading Game in a Japanese university, in Teaching in Higher
Education, 16 (4), 401-412.
• Waddel, K. and McChlery, S. (2008) Beyond Enron: Introducing the risks of financial mismanagement to business and management students – a case
study approach, International Journal of Management Education, 8 (1), 11 – 22.
• Waters, L. and Johnston, C. (2004) Web-delivered, problem-based learning in organisational behaviour: a new form of CAOS, Higher Education
Research and Development, 23 (4) 413-431.