Creating learning experience triangles: use of three-way partnerships between students, lecturers and external organisations to embed authentic experiences in Biosciences curricula

Dr Anne Goodenough

Students often learn best “on the job” through holistic real-world projects. These can benefit student experience and attainment, and provide the subject-specific and transferable skills (and networking contacts) needed to improve post-graduation employability. One approach is to create Learning Experience Triangles (LETs): three-way partnerships between students, lecturers and external link organisations to embed authentic experiences into curricula. Such collaborations can involve developing real-world modules with novel assessment whereby the organisation becoming the “client” for student consultancy work. Others options include placement-based dissertations or internships, or students working as partners on staff-led research and co-publishing articles. The common denominator is that a three-way partnership is created between a link organisation, academic, and student(s) to make a genuine contribution to knowledge, answer real questions, or solve an actual problem with tangible benefits. LETs also help break down the traditional school-based teacher/learner divide that is typically unhelpful in developing students as advanced learners.

About the author

Dr Anne Goodenough is the Course Leader and Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences at the University of Gloucestershire. She has published more than 50 papers in leading journals, which underpin her highly applied teaching style.