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Abstract

This paper describes a research project to improve teaching methods to cater for Gen Y and Millennium student learning. The project was initiated by participation in using the Engaging Leadership Framework project and is designed to undertake research to inform teaching. Planned to take 18 months, it aims to spawn parallel projects on improving teaching for current younger generation university students. The objective is to improve student engagement in their own learning whilst also improving the research group members’ individual teaching approaches. Two academics from different disciplines identified a common concern that their teaching styles may not be meeting the needs of the current young cohort of students. The project design uses an action research methodology with several iterations of data collection, action and review. In the initial cycle existing data from student surveys was analysed to ascertain the current level of engagement and what students perceived as needed to improve their learning. In addition, a preliminary investigation of the literature on Gen Y learning indicated that technology and flexibility were significant factors in their learning style. The preliminary results suggest that students want increased interactivity, yet beyond this they have not reflected sufficiently on what may assist them. The impact of this research is that whilst the academics focus on their own professional practice, this in turn provides an opportunity to impact on student learning.

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