Transformative learning and teaching in economics: the why of learning and teaching economics using threshold concepts : the how of learning and teaching economics using learning taxonomies
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 11:35 authored by Prashan Shayanka Mendis Karunaratne
When economics is a core course for all students in a business faculty, the result is a diverse cohort. Students need to be conveyed the 'why' and the 'how' of learning economics to ensure that the course is relevant, interesting and engaging. Students needs to be equipped with transformative concepts that they can integrate into their own discipline and beyond university. This study investigates these motivations in a core microeconomics course of a large business faculty in an Australian university. To emphasise the 'why' of learning, this study frames a teaching methodology based on research into threshold concepts - emphasising the transformative and integrative ideas of economics. To incorporate the 'how' of learning, this study develops a systematic pedagogy based on learning taxonomies - navigating students from base-level learning to evaluative and critical thinking in economics. This is the first study that engages all the threshold concepts of economics in a single curriculum, to engage students with the 'why' of learning. This is also the first study that engages the threshold concepts of economics throughout the curriculum - in every learning and teaching activity, as well as in every assessment task. Without altering the content, this study also develops a transformed ordering of topics to create a unique teaching sequence based on the threshold concepts of economics. To assist students with the 'how' of learning economics, this study utilises assessments for learning rather than assessments solely of learning. This study develops an original R.E.A.L. framework - a four-step scaffolding to engage and equip learners with evaluative and critical thinking in economics. The R.E.A.L. framework is useful for teachers as well, assisting teachers to guide their students to higher level thinking in economics. Student surveys noted a significant improvement in the student learning experience. The course grades noted a significant improvement in student learning outcomes.