Evans, C. K. and Allen, Claire (2012) Undergraduate student research skills for the 21st century: Pedagogical investigation for engaging the millennials beyond surface learning. In: 9th ICED Conference 2012, 23-25 July 2012, Bangkok, Thailand.

This paper considers the impact of internet search engine retrieval methods on the research skills of the new millennia student. This is a real teaching and learning challenge now being addressed by research educators.
We have identified that art and design students research behaviour centres round feeding the computer search engines and not engaging with primary research. We are at risk of students relying wholly on digitised research as the tools for this exist. If we do not take the lead in developing robust pedagogical approaches in the design of learning digital aides we will find ourselves as educators adapting to embedded/entrenched research behaviour of the new millennials a surface learning model. “Google now channels millions and millions of people to the information they need, on a scale that dwarfs any library, publishing or newspaper effort. The tail (the retrieval system) is wagging the dog to within an inch of its life” (Nicholas, Rowlands, Withey, & Dobrowplski, 2008, p. 5).
Our research seeks to challenge the surface learning of the new millennials. A prominent method is based on emergent learning theory centring round dialogue and interaction between student and educator. This approach of collective enterprise and collaborative learning is no longer tutor centred.
This study presents our research of art and design students. The study looks at comparisons between tutor expectations and student learning experience within the fashion study field. It will investigate ways to engage the fashion student to move beyond the ‘attentional’ gate of surface learning considering such methods as embed spaces for thinking and reflecting, contributing information, socialising and learning. The study tracks the research process of fashion students and investigates teaching methods to guide them in their navigation through infinite unedited fashion related information.
The discussion will centre round issues we have identified that arise from the student perspective of what is valid research. The research has been carried out with undergraduate students from four courses in collaboration with museum archives over an eighteen month period. The student learning experience has been investigated by observing formal teaching and learning sessions. Evidence was gathered through informal observations, film, questionnaires and interviews in the form of exploratory and qualitative.
The boundaries between socialising and researching are blurring due to Web 2.0 technology. Students focus on feeding the computer search engines and not engaging with primary research. We need to rethink when and where our tutor interventions take place to scaffold the student learning experience and engagement.

C_Evans_&_C_Allen_ICED12_Final_submission.pdf - Accepted Version

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