Can Active Collaborative Learning Improve Equality?


Across UK Higher Education, there is a strong drive to improve equality for students from diverse backgrounds reflected in government and university strategies and policies. One priority is the attainment gap, where students from some ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged backgrounds experience worse outcomes than expected. The national regulator, the Office for Students, allocated funding for projects to improve equality for all students.

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) is a modern university in the East of England. It serves a diverse group of students, including above sector average numbers of BME students, students from regions with low participation in HE, and students from low income families. ARU partnered with two other UK universities on one of the Office for Students ‘Addressing Barriers’ projects. In keeping with ARU’s strategic commitment to active learning, we aimed to scale up adoption of an Active Collaborative Learning approach, Team-Based Learning (TBL).

TBL is a structured approach where students collaborate in permanent teams, and uses a mix of flipped learning, team work on authentic problems and feedback to ensure accountability. TBL has been demonstrated to improve engagement, participation and outcomes, with particular benefits for low performing students.
We will present the evidence for impact on improved student outcomes, and narrowed gaps for disadvantaged groups of students as part of scaling up TBL across the institution. We will conclude with an outlook on how active collaborative learning together with other strategic measures can improve equality and student success in HE.

Author Information
Rachel Berkson, Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom
Uwe Matthias Richter, Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2019
Stream: Learning Experiences

This paper is part of the ECE2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon