I have just started to read Laurillard’s ‘Rethinking University Teaching: a framework for the effective use of learning technologies’ (2nd Edition) and although it was written 10 years ago (2002), I feel that many of the points made in this book are still relevant today. However, one of the ideas underpinning Laurillard’s work raised a few questions in my mind. She suggests that ‘…academic learning is different from other kinds of learning in everyday life because it is not directly experienced, and is necessarily mediated by the teacher.’ (p.4). It seems to suggest undergraduates are not learning about the world directly, but through others’ descriptions/experiences of it and that teachers are responsible for conveying information to their students in a way which enables them to learn effectively.
My initial reaction to this idea was to shake my head. Surely, academic learning can be experienced? Is the application of the skills and knowledge gained by the student during their study not academic learning? Or can academic learning only be the learning of other people’s ideas and descriptions of the world? I think that what I consider to be ‘academic learning’ and what Laurillard sees as ‘academic learning’ must be two very different things.
Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking University Teaching: a framework for the effective use of learning technologies. (2nd Edition). Abingdon, RouteldgeFalmer.