Learning Effectiveness - A Case Study on Critical Thinking and Collaboration within Higher Education

Marianne Oberg Tuleus
Orebro University, Sweden


The dominating theme of this paper is the contribution of ODL in teaching students withinhigher education to become critical thinkers and collaborators. An increasing demand on higher education today is to take on the challenge of 21st century skills. In Europe as well as worldwide they are described as essential skills in a knowledge-based society. Generally speaking you could say that developing 21st century skills aim at “learning to collaborate with others and connect through technology” (www.atc21s.org). As a senior lecturer in educational sciences I teach and direct courses, which are offered to Erasmus students. A didactical challenge in this context is to meet with the students’ pre-understanding of the Swedish educational context. Generally the Erasmus students experience the Swedish educational context as ‘strange’ in a positive sense. They look forward to experience something ‘new’ and the overall driving force tends to be to learn ‘better’. This is in alignment with the SwedishHigher Education Act that stipulates that students are to develop the ability to “make independent and critical assessments, identify, formulate and solve problems autonomously” (www.uhr.se). Hence, teaching and learning turns into a question of both addressing the subject content and to critically inquire into it.

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