Real-World Contexts

Guideline:  Draw connections between concepts being studied and professional, disciplinary and/or real-world contexts.

When our interest is aroused in something, whether it is an academic subject or a hobby, we enjoy working hard at it.  We come to feel that we can in some way own it and use it to make sense of the world around us…And this is even more likely if an explanation is added as to why the particular method or fact that has to be learned will be useful in the future.

Ramsden, P., Learning to Teach in Higher Education, Routledge, London, p.96 (1992).

Learning is essentially a matter of creating meaning from the real activities of daily living.  By embedding subject matter in the ongoing experiences of the learners and by creating opportunities for learners to live subject matter in the context of real-world challenges, knowledge is acquired and learning transfers from the classroom to the realm of practice.

Stein, D., Situated Learning in Adult Education, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education, Columbus OH (1998).


Additional References

Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32.

Cantor, J.A., Experiential Learning in Higher Education: Linking Classroom and Community, ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education (1995).

Donald, J.G., Learning to Think: Disciplinary Perspectives, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA (2002).

Jenkins, A., Blackman, T., Lindsay, R. & Paton-Salzberg, R., “Teaching and research:  students’ perspectives and policy implications”, Studies in Higher Education, vol. 23, no. 2, p. 132 (1998).

McInnis, C., Freestone, R., Bafnara, A., Scoufis, M. & Pratt, C., eds. “Exploring the nexus between research and teaching”, in The Learning Community: First Explorations of the Research-Teaching Nexus at UNSW, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, p. 9 (2003)

Russell, S. H., Hancock, M. P., & McCullough, J. (2007). Benefits of Undergraduate Research Experiences. Science, 316(5824), 548-549. doi: 10.1126/science.1140384


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