Connecting student learning at university with professional practice using rich media in practice-based curricula

Barney Dalgarno, Gregor Kennedy, Alan Merritt

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    Students in practice-based courses, such as law, medicine, education, nursing and engineering, typically begin with a limited understanding of the nature of the field of practice. Additionally, there is often a disconnection between the theory of the discipline area—learnt at university—and the teaching and learning that takes place at sites of professional practice. In this chapter we argue that this disconnection creates three fundamental difficulties. First, students often have an incomplete knowledge of the practice context; second, in their university-based learning, students are asked to apply the theoretical ideas they have been studying to contrived or inauthentic problems; and third, when students do engage in learning at sites of professional practice, the messages provided by their supervisors in professional practice may be different from the ones they receive from their university lecturers. We discuss three common ways in which students are helped to make connections between their university learning and their more practically oriented learning: work-integrated learning programmes, inquiry-based learning designs and simulation, but identify particular issues with each approach. We then consider how rich media technologies such as videoconferencing, web conferencing and mobile video can be used to connect university classrooms to sites of professional practice and in doing so help to address the identified issues with traditional approaches to practice-based education. We conclude by noting unresolved technological, pedagogical and ethical issues associated with the use of these technologies and suggest areas requiring further investigation and research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCurriculum models for the 21st century
    Subtitle of host publicationUsing learning technologies in higher education
    EditorsMaree Gosper, Dirk Ifenthaler
    Place of PublicationNew York
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Electronic)9781461473664
    ISBN (Print)9781461473657
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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