Variation in students' experience of learning in an accelerated, residential, study abroad setting in comparison to their traditional HE experience
Keywords:Student engagement, residential courses, awareness of learning, accelerated courses, study abroad
This study explores the variation in students' learning experiences of studying accelerated, residential courses during a four week study abroad option at an international study centre in the UK compared with their experiences of learning at their home institution. In focussing on qualitative aspects of students' learning experiences in these settings, this study fills a gap in the accelerated course literature
Analysis of a series of semi-structured interviews with students during their studies during the four week option revealed four distinctively different but related ways they described their experiences of the accelerated courses compared with their home university learning experiences. These were: student sees the opportunity to learn; student feels safe; student takes learning risks; and student reconsiders learning. In traditional university settings there may be little variation in the forms and modes of teaching, learning and assessment in the student experience. One of the outcomes of this study is to suggest that in traditional university settings there is a place to explore increased opportunities for students to learn in different ways e.g. project and enquiry-based courses, innovative assessment using technology, group assessment as well as service learning courses, study abroad or work placement opportunities and field-work across the disciplines. We believe that reviewing the academic year around different learning formats and duration of courses offers students (and teachers) opportunities to become increasingly aware of their own development and their own learning (and teaching).
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