Releasing the power: research led learning in a professional practice undergraduate curriculum

Michael Daws, Eric Johansen, Allan Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a challenge for vocational programmes in Higher Education in addressing the needs of a practice based discipline while developing enquiry based abilities in students. Ongoing research is being carried out into the use and suitability of student research-led learning within Built Environment curriculum at Northumbria University. This is aimed at undergraduate professional practice education and its perceived value by staff and students as compared to the use of the more traditional perceived transmission-based pedagogy. A focus group based survey of final years students was carried out to obtain an improved understanding of the value of research-led learning and to seek to highlight and extend staff opportunities and motivation to employ such methods across a wider range of curriculum activity, thus helping to justify the “release” of curriculum ownership to the student. It appears that students struggle to see the value of work which is not directly related to employment and it is suggested that more work is needed in measuring and understanding the enquiry based skills which are being used in the workplace already and using pedagogical approaches in language and practice which are more easily digested by students because research led learning is seen to be practical and have real results in what they perceive as the “real world”. Research-led learning needs to be carefully and sensitively embedded within the student learning experience at undergraduate level.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNorthumbria Working Paper Series: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Built and Virtual Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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