Changing the Departmental Learning Culture to Enable Student-Centred Learning in Large Classes

Christel Troskie-de Bruin, Ruth M. Albertyn, Pauline Machika


The fast changing workplace requires lifelong learners that can adapt and function effectively in a variety of circumstances. To equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to be marketable and survive in the workplace is not easy, especially in the context of very large classes. In this mixed method study current practices and challenges related to teaching, learning and assessment were investigated at a South African university with classes of up to 800 students. Only the qualitative component of the study, which involved in-depth interviews with lecturers of these classes, is used for this article. We found that transfer of knowledge by lecturing and electronic assessments by means of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) were the dominant practices in these classes. Individual efforts by lecturers to use student-centred methods were met with resistance by both colleagues and students. We argue that this situation will not change unless the departmental learning culture changes to incorporate student-centred teaching, learning and assessment as classroom practice. Some examples are presented of viable ways to use peer- and self-assessment in these large classes which could be adopted as standard departmental teaching and learning practice.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n8p386

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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