Guideline Six | Relevance

6. Students become more engaged in the learning process if they can see the relevance of their studies to professional, disciplinary and/or personal contexts, for example through linking learning experiences to the workplace or wider community.

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. 1992, Learning to Teach in Higher Education, Routledge, London, p. 96.

“So, what is PBL? Problem-Based Learning involves the use of complex, “real-world” problems as the stimulus and framework for learning. It is based on the premise that students will be motivated to “want to know” and solve the problem posed because it is presented in a context that simulates real world situations.”
Maria Harper-Marinick, Engaging Students in Problem-Based Learning.

Constructionism asserts that people learn best when placed in the active role of a designer or builder. Given a real-world problem to solve, the individual, or preferably groups of individuals, must apply existing knowledge, and acquire new knowledge to construct practical solutions to be shared with an audience.“Design in Mind Learning™


Toolkit Guideline 6


Online Resources

Connecting Course Content with Students’ Lives. Bridget Murray. Monitor on line. link

Authentic Learning: What does it Really Mean? Ann Carlson. Western Washington University. link

Service learning at MIT is a hands-on way for students to develop real solutions to real-world challenges. Engineering education, MIT. link 

A challenging new way to teach introductory astronomy. Douglas Duncan. University of Chicago. link

Editorial: The Components of Authentic Learning. Audrey C. Rule.  State University of New York at Oswego. link