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Principles of the Framework

The educational framework suggests ways of supporting and assessing adaptive learning. Although the general ideas and descriptions of the learning issues discussed will be familiar to academics, some terms may have more familiar descriptions in a particular discipline.

The framework proposes that:

  • One of the primary purposes of a degree course at a research-led university is to assist in the development of students' expertise in a subject discipline.This provides the students with the intellectual skills to perform effectively when presented with a wide range of problems in continually changing environments, albeit with a discipline-related perspective.
  • The purpose of a course (and thus its nature) is influenced by the assessment criteria while the quality of a course is determined by the support offered to students in working to attain those criteria.
  • Students' study approaches are significantly influenced by the perceived purpose of the course. The extent to which the course aims to develop adaptive (or adoptive) learning processes should be reflected not only in the rhetoric of the aims, objectives or learning outcomes, but also as importantly in the teaching, learning and assessment methods actually used. Students' perceptions of the purpose of a course will significantly influence the way they engage intellectually with course activities (e.g. an active or passive approach to lectures or resource-based learning).
  • The quality of the learning process is largely determined by the nature of the assignment task, particularly the extent to which its components are unfamiliar to the student.
  • Adoptive methods establish adoptive processes while adaptive methods develop adaptive and creative processes or approaches. The development of lower level learning processes, such as following set methods or recalling facts, is not a foundation for the later development of higher order learning processes such as reasoning, analysis or creativity. The capabilities required are different in nature. At any level of study, adaptive learning processes can and should be encouraged to develop alongside adoptive learning.