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Development of learner autonomy in student-centred learning environments in engineering

   Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

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  Dr E Ventura-Medina, Dr A Anderson  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

More than ever engineering disciplines are playing a key role in the development of solutions to the current and future grand challenges that societies around the globe face. Consequently, the real challenge that society faces at the moment is the supply of ‘job-ready’ engineering graduates with the professional skills to face the ever-changing demands of future workplaces.

Professional bodies and institutions urge higher education institutions to innovate in their teaching and learning practices, by using active learning pedagogies, in order to meet the societal demands placed on engineering disciplines. Active learning pedagogies claim to enable the development of professional and life-long learning skills. Similarly, student-centred approaches claim to facilitate the development of intellectual skills and autonomy via self-regulation. However it is still unclear how these pedagogies and student-centred learning environments can be best exploited within educational contexts to this effect.

This project will investigate behavioural and performance characteristics of students when working in Problem-Based and Enquiry-based learning activities in order to elucidate the link between the use of these approaches and the development of learner’s autonomy. It will explore the role of ‘reflection’ and ‘self-regulation’ in the progressive development of intellectual skills and metacognition that can lead to autonomous learning. The proposed project will build on existing research within the group and will use qualitative methods to examine the behaviour of learners in actual teaching settings.

This project will suit a student with a background in education, social sciences, psychology or engineering with an interest in educational research.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

Funding Notes

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates may be considered for a University scholarship.

Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science or education discipline. Candidates with masters level are preferred, but exceptional candidates at bachelors level can also be considered.
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