The Research Based Learning Parliament: Savvy and in-session

Year: 2017

Author: Wilson, John, Wadu He, Ferdinand, Mataniari, Raissa, Sari, Shinta, Warner, Richard, Miller, Julia

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This sitting of parliament provides an opportunity for the audience to delve deeply into key questions for Research Based Learning (RBL) and we invite you to take sides and express your opinions.
However, you will first hear from researchers in the field in order to fuel your debates with evidence.

- Ferdinand Wahu He will present evidence on the efficacy of Masters courses that are intended to prepare students for major research capstone projects.

House debate 1: At about the same time that Kuh (2008) announced Undergraduate Research to be a 'high impact' approach, Hunter, Laursen & Seymour (2007) stated that there was little evidence of its efficacy, raising questions about the evidence base for claims around RBL. How effective is RBL for all students?

- Raissa Mataniari will provoke us with the performance and attitudes of undergraduate students in terms of online reports that make explicit the requirement for research skills and critical thinking.

House debate 2: The students as partners movement (Levy, Little, S & Whelan, 2010) emphasises student decision and action in open ended learning, with perhaps reflection on the process later, whereas Kircher, Sweller and (2006) state that without explicit scaffolding of student learning from the start, RBL is totally ineffective. To what extent should the skills for RBL be spelt out to students?

- Shinta Sari will delve into the nature and connections between research skills and an explicit framework for the teaching of mathematical problem solving in secondary and university contexts.

House debate 3: Wass, Harland and Mercer (2011) claimed that engagement in research was a prime way of developing critical thinking i.e. there is much overlap in processes. How much overlap exists between the skills used in RBL and in other complex learning, such as Problem Based Learning, Critical Thinking, Clinical Reasoning and Work Integrated Learning?

The RBL Parliament's Speaker will provide a pertinent conceptual lens, the Research Skill Development (RSD: Willison & O'Regan, 2007) framework to focus the debate on the questions above and to use the presentations as points of departure for robust discussion. Each of the presenters has researched context- specific examples of the RSD, so the audience will find immediate connection between the presentations and the lens for debate.

The chief whip, Richard Warner, will keep the debate lively, and the Speaker of the House, John Willison, will ensure a fair vote on this key question: should RBL be promoted in policy or not, based on current evidence?