Strategies to Promote Effective Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: A Portuguese Perspective

By Isabel Huet, José Tavares, Nilza Costa, Alan Jenkins, Claudia Ribeiro and Ana Vitória Baptista.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Under the Bologna Process, in progress in Europe since 1999, major changes should be introduced in the organisation of Higher Education (HE), concerning both the degree structure and the organisation of the teaching and learning environment. Although the Bologna process has a strong political root it has been a motor to speed HE reforms in many European countries, namely in Portugal. One of the Bologna guidelines refers to the student-centered approach to teaching and learning and the design of the curricula based on competences and learning outcomes. In order to achieve these guidelines, teaching and learning strategies need to change as, until recently, we faced a traditional teaching model. This model is centred on the teacher with the predominance of information passing style in lectures and where assessment do not have a visible effect on students’ learning path. Indeed, the pursuing of excellence in teaching and learning in HE, an emerging issue at Portuguese institutions, has been a motive for long discussions in academia. Topics such as teaching and research nexus, students’ autonomy and self-regulation learning strategies, inquiry-based learning and e-learning have been in the centre of such discussions. The authors explore in the paper the importance of promoting effective teaching and learning in HE by addressing: i) a theoretical framework on the subject, and ii) three studies showing the problems faced by the new generation of learners and teachers in Portugal.

Keywords: Effective Teaching, Learning in Higher Education, Active Learning, Bologna Process, Linking Teaching and Research

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 10, pp.157-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 573.614KB).

Dr. Isabel Huet

Researcher in Higher Education, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

Dr. Isabel Huet has a Ph.D. in Education and is currently a Researcher on Higher Education at the University of Aveiro, Department of Didactics and Educational Technology. Her research interests include new teaching and learning approaches, e-learning, collaborative learning, linking teaching and research in Higher Education and supervision. Currently she is also interested on the implications of the Bologna process in curricula design, teaching and learning. Dr. Isabel Huet is an educational developer, running CPD courses for members of staff in Portuguese HE institutions. She is the co-ordinator of the Laboratory of Quality Evaluation in Higher Education which is integrated in the Research Center for Didactics and Technology in Teacher Education.

Prof. José Tavares

Department of Education, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Professor José Tavares has a Ph.D. at the University of Leuven aggregated in Educational Psychology at the University of Aveiro and since 1979 Professor in the Department of Educational Sciences. Coordinator of several research projects in Higher Education. The main research interests are: development and learning, neurosciences, cognitive sciences and interpersonal relationships

Prof. Nilza Costa

Department of Didactics and Educational Technology, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Professor Nilza Costa has a strong expertise in teaching and learning in Higher Education. She coordinates the Laboratory of Quality Evaluation in Education at the Department of Didactics and Educational Technology. Her research interests include teaching evaluation, didactics, supervision and teaching and learning in HE.

Prof. Alan Jenkins

Emeritus Professor, Oxford Brookes University, UK

Professor Emeritus on Higher Education, Consultant for the Higher Education Academy; Reinvention Fellow for the Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research: University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University.

Claudia Ribeiro

Researcher, Department of Education, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Claudia Ribeiro is a research assistant in the Department of Educational Sciences at the University of Aveiro with a Degree (2002) in Clinical Psychology at the University of Coimbra. She is currently a master student of Educational Psychology at the University of Aveiro.

Dr Ana Vitória Baptista

M.Ed. Student and Researcher, Department of Didactics and Educational Technology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

Ana Vitória Baptista is a M.Ed. Student and is currently developing her investigation at the University of Aveiro in Portugal. Her research is focusing on a new public that is entering the Higher Education (HE) Institutions, which constitute her sample: non-traditional adult students. Her main interests include Higher Education policies; Bologna Reform and its consequences to HE Institutions (and their new missions and challenges), curricula, teaching and learning methods; lifelong learning policies and perspectives; non-traditional adult students, their characteristics and their adjustment to HE Institutions; European Higher Education Area; innovative teaching methods.

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