It is common to hear some students exclaim
in exasperation that they have sat through a
module for an entire semester and yet, could not
make sense of what the module was all about.
Through my observations and conversations
with them, I have found that this knowledge gap
happens when students do not take ownership of
the knowledge being disseminated in a module.
The pragmatic approach most of them adopt
to fulfill module requirements have resulted
in many of them relying on their lecturers
and instructors to provide the framework for
studying a module. This reliance has in turn
led to students cultivating a habit of accepting
knowledge as it is presented.
In order to encourage students to “claim
ownership” of the knowledge being
disseminated in the module HR2002 “Human
Capital in Organizations”, I experimented with
an approach which departs from the traditional
way of summarising a module at the end of
the semester. Traditionally, a lecturer holds
court during the summary session—revisiting
learning objectives, fielding questions,
clarifying doubts and yes, providing information
about the exam. In this particular approach, I
take the “back seat” instead.
This activity is called “Understanding
Competencies & Reframing Mental Models”.
The exercise encourages students to ref lect
upon the concepts and theories covered in
the module; it also provides them with an
opportunity to exercise their critical thinking
skills as they build their very own model or
framework that would articulate what they
learnt in the module. In addition, it helps them
to make sense of the issues and challenges raised
during the lessons.
In order to engage every student, the activity
brief, which also includes a reading list of three
related articles, was distributed to the class two
weeks before the module’s final session. Each
student was tasked to think about his mental
model of relating and interacting with people,
a key emphasis of the module. The students then
formed small groups in which they could pool
their ideas together. Each group had to come
up with one PowerPoint slide to articulate their
model or framework, and they had to do a five minute