Led-research: using PBL+ and enquiry-based learning to develop student analysis, research, and application skills

Scott Slorach, The York Law School, University of York


The workshop will share design ideas, subsequent experiences and feedback from a
new module focused on developing student analysis, research and application skills, fundamental to success in future careers. The module design combines contextual advanced problem-based learning (“PBL+”) and enquiry-based learning skills. Students apply PBL+ to analyse a complex, multi-discipline case study, and then individual research interests and outputs triggered by the case study.

The case analysis and a portfolio of three researched outputs are assessed. The
portfolio gives students freedom to design their own thematic assessment, with few restrictions on format or word limit. Students present their portfolio proposal to the module supervisor and peers to demonstrate how it meets module and programme learning outcomes. Individual outputs are presented, peer-reviewed and supervised as they are developed during the module, which is intensive. The results were a range of varied academic and employability related outputs using differing communication formats, aimed at different audiences.

The presenter will share the module design and materials with colleagues, together with experiences and lessons learned, and examples of the range of research outputs created by students. There will be discussion of the ability to adapt elements of this approach to other disciplines, and the comparative benefits of “set”, standard and student-designed research-based assessments.

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