Brennand, Kathryn (2014) An Investigation into the Impact of Learning Environments and Teaching Large Student Cohorts within Design Subjects at Higher Education Level. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

This research study investigates current pedagogical practices and examines the
characteristics of the learning environment for design-based degree programmes
within UK higher education. Its purpose is to identify current teaching and
learning practices across a range of design disciplines within one specific
institution in order to evaluate and implement improvements to enhance the
undergraduate learning experience. In a period of rapid change, education is
faced with higher expectations of what degree programmes are providing and is
fast becoming a highly competitive market where the quality of education is
paramount.
Literature surrounding this subject will be reviewed and discussed focusing on
the increase in student participation within vocational subjects, design-based
pedagogies, learning theories and the physical learning environment. The
triangulation of methods used for this investigation examines two levels of
perspective including that of academic tutors and entry-level undergraduates.
The data collection methods include academic interviews, undergraduate
questionnaires and a student focus group. The research findings were analysed
and coded into key themes, these link back to existing research. The study
measures the effectiveness of current teaching and learning practices; the
academic and undergraduate input provides a detailed insight from tutors who
facilitate the degree programs and students who have recent learning experience.
The research concludes that practical-based degree programs must incorporate
flexibility in the delivery of the subject; a blend of teaching methods is useful in
supporting entry-level students in order to develop core subject knowledge,
encourage autonomous learning and develop early employability skills.

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