Categories PGCE

From Teaching to Learning


In the Nov/Dec 1995 Barr & Tagg realeased the article; “From teaching to learning : A New Paradigm For Undergraduate Education.” This study stirred up a change within education; 20 years on from this study how are universities in the modern context using and implementing the learning paradigm?

This article discussed and identified a teaching paradigm that was adopted by many universities. Whereby the teaching approach is instructional in its delivery and is conceived in the activity of a stereotypical lecture, the students were also expected to do self-paced learning, outside of the lecture.

So the question is, where is the learning investment from the students?

It was clear in 1995 that universities’ were using an instructional paradigm, even though there was literature supporting the importance of self-paced learning, being part of a community movement, while using assessment, as a pedagogical tool the evidence of this was limited, there was no external output and universities were not implementing different methods of teaching. (

Then came along the ‘paradigm’ shift.


It was the essence of the univeristies, that had to make this paradigm shift from instructional to learning . If this way of thinking could be implemented then there was a large opportunity for change.
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It was down to the faculty to create learning spaces that were powerful in their learning environments. It is down to how we interact with our students, and deliver the knowledge and skills to facilitate them.
…”In the view of Barr and Tagg, colleges and faculty were prisoners of a system, structure, and history not of their creation, one that prevented meaningful collaboration among campus stakeholders. Archaic and discriminatory grading practices continue, in some cases predefining how letter grades will be distributed in a class without concern for the prior preparation, abilities, or academic potential that an individual student possesses”… (
Since Barr & Taggs’ study in 1995, universities have made a clear movement in the learning paradigm. I am clearly measuring this on my own experience as an undergraduate in 2003 to now facilitating learning in 2015.

Certain factors such as technical developments; with the internet, social networking sites and advances in media producing software, have enabled universities and students to connect and share learning more freely.

On the undergraduate courses I teach, there is a belief of ‘learning through doing’. How this is implemented, is not just limited to the classroom, but through means of international and professional experiences, creating professional websites, blogs and actively encourage to engage with their own professional practice outside of the lecture theatre.

How do I apply this into my own practice to develop skill learning?

Barr and Tagg discussed the idea of using the form of creating community between courses and this can further help shift the learning paradigm. One of the areas that wasn’t being created was a community between courses. We share a building with performing arts and to soon join them as a faculty. A media Production undergrad, created a group on Facebook. That was only open to media production, to collaborate with one another. I suggested that we open up the page to the entire school and allow it to be a space to network, collaborate and share videos with one another.

To this date there has been a great deal of success. There are over 270 students already working and engaging creating new projects and developing a tangible network. Outside creative organisations have also offered professional experience opportunities to students. The group has allowed myself to share tutorials and reading materials easily, and students have provided fantastic useful feedback on how they like to learn. We have had students from the graphic design course design the branding and we are looking forward to growing number next year to see what can be generated from this.


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