Monthly Archives: December 2013

This isn’t the end of self-directed learning, it’s just the beginning..


So this post is going to be a review of how I felt about the Science of Education module.

If I’m honest, when I first started the module I was terrified. I didn’t think I would be capable of formulating novel ideas every week. The initial shock and inexperience of being in charge of my own learning choices was quite overwhelming, particularly when deciding which routes to take.

However my nerves were quickly settled. Sitting in one of the very first talks I began to realise the value of being able to choose your own area of interest to explore. The diverse range of talks produced was fascinating, and I began to formulate ideas for further blogs whilst listening to others’ talks. This module encouraged collaboration amongst us, where we could feed from each other’s ideas to develop new ideas.

For anyone that assumes a module without exams would be easy, think again.  The amount of hours I have put into researching and writing my blogs, producing comments and preparing my speech has exceeded the amount of time I’ve put into any other module throughout university. This may not necessarily be a requirement of the module, and students could probably achieve an average grade through spending an hour or two on their blog, and putting little effort into the speeches (which are exemption marked). However the structure of the module motivates you to want to try that little bit harder. The talks in particular are always of a high standard, despite the fact they’re not marked. We’re passionate about the things we write about; therefore want to express them in our talks in a way that does them justice.

For the last few weeks we had to specialise our blogs. My topic blogs were based on the idea of removing grading entirely from education. As a student who ordinarily places a lot of emphasis and value on the grades I receive, it was interesting for me to consider an alternative perspective. I began by discussing some disadvantages to grading. However as the blogs progressed, I became more involved in the idea, and now actually believe that a system without grading would create a more effective, creative education. The controversial edge I took on this topic encouraged other students to argue against my idea in their comments, and interesting discussions were generated.

As I continuously argued throughout my blogs: education should be about facilitating the innate passion to learn in every student. This module is a key example of how intrinsic motivation can be instilled in students if we are given the opportunity to learn, rather than regurgitate. I wish other modules could allow me to do the same. If second years are considering choosing this module, I would highly recommend it. As long as you are willing to put in the work (as it is a LOT of work), the ability to instigate self-directed learning is an invaluable experience. Thanks to Jesse and the other students for making this module so enjoyable :).