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Problem solving, reflection and lifelong learning in the junction between theory and practice
University West, School of Business, Economics and IT, Division of Media and Design. (LINA)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2494-2257
University West, School of Business, Economics and IT, Division of Media and Design. (LINA)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2253-5666
2022 (English)In: International Conference on Work Integrated Learning: Abstract Book, Trollhättan: University West , 2022, p. 80-80Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In 2002 University West was commissioned by the government to develop forms for work integrated learning (WIL) as part of the work with pedagogical renewal of higher education. As a result of this assignment, WIL is now a deeply rooted philosophy and cornerstone of the university but also the main principle for pedagogical approach. We believe that knowledge, both theoretical and practical, is acquired everywhere and not only in institutions of higher learning. In other words, we are striving to connect university studies with everyday work life and the surrounding society. The purpose of this paper is to describe and evaluate a strategy for improving student awareness and skills for problem solving, reflection and lifelong learning in the junction between theory and practice. At the center of our focus are students from our bachelor's degree programme 3D-animation and visualization and a course on simulation and particle based effects. This is a challenging subject to teach since knowledge, tools and process is evolving rapidly and we rewrite the course curricula every year. The strategy consists of adding five themes focused on reflection and problem solving spread over the weeks of the course, in addition to the more direct subject-related areas. For each theme the students recieved reading material giving an overview of each theme, and then reflection based questions aimed at connecting the theme of each week to the subject of the course. The themes were Lifeling Learning, MoSCoW prioritisation, Schöns desriptions of design challenges and wicked problems and finally Fraylings ideas of Research through design and Schöns Conversation with the material. For the last week, the students wrote a summary of the entire course using the themes they had studied. At first there was some resistance among the students, and it was not easy for them to see the value of these assignments, instead their focus was on the more technical aspects of the course. However, as the course progressed a majority of the students started to see the point of these more reflective based assignments. One example where this became apparent was during the weekly presentations of the technical assignments. While some of the students still struggled with integrating the reflective assignments with the more technical parts of the course, others started to use the terminology and reasoning from the reflective assignments when talking about how they approached the problems they faced when solving the technical assignments. Having the students equipped with these new approaches also facilitated talking about problem solving and learning strategies, both during the course where this strategy was tested, as well as a subsequent course.The strategy was evaluated by analysing the written and oral presentations and reflections of the students, with special attention being paid to their problem solving and their strategies when approaching new technologies and tools. In addition to this, we also observed their reasoning about the theories that was embedded in the tools, i.e not just talk about how to do things in the software, but also the theories and principles underlying the software.Overall, the aim of the strategy was to train the students on problem solving and learning through experimentation, design and reflection. While one single course is a very short time to practice this, differences in reasoning andstrategies in the students from the beginning of the course to the end could be seen. This was both in their written reports as well as their oral presentations. Areas where improvements could be seen was more abstract reasoning, reflection on problem solving, priorities, and the ability to connect and compare different areas of the course. One theme that also was recurring in the texts was the balance between chaotic exploration and structured learning. These are skills that are valuable in a changing industry where they will need to learn new tools and develop new workflows constantly. Overall, a conclusion here is that learning to learn is far more important than learning a specific tool or skill.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trollhättan: University West , 2022. p. 80-80
Keywords [en]
work integrated learning, reflection, problem solving, simulation
National Category
Pedagogy Learning
Research subject
Work Integrated Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-19567ISBN: 9789189325302 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-19567DiVA, id: diva2:1725628
Conference
WIL'22 International Conference on Work Integrated Learning, 7-9 December 2022, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden
Note

The general theme of the conference is: “WIL in the service of society”

Available from: 2023-01-11 Created: 2023-01-11 Last updated: 2023-03-15Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, MikaelAndersson, Ulf

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