Explorative Learning and Scientific Writing - How to Teach Students Control Their Own Learning Process

A.W. Hunziker and R. Hugi (Switzerland)


Collaborative knowledge construction, collaborative learning, mental models, e-learning, Bologna reform, teaching design.


A major problem in teaching business administration students is that they learn concepts and principles but do not sufficiently think and act themselves. They are socialized to repeat thoughts of others rather than to methodically develop new, original answers. This paper outlines an e-learning design that allows students to learn at the same time (1) basic knowledge about how to write a scientific paper and (2) how to structure an explorative learning process and (3) how to collaborate in a virtual environment. The project has been realized in the bachelor program’s first semester. It’s e-learning design is based on seven steps: Question, mental model one, research, mental model two, conclusion. And then: Presentation of own paper and critical discussion of peer paper. Face to face meetings are used as well as asynchronous interaction, both within groups and between groups as well as with teachers (coaches). Online elements provide necessary and optional information for students supporting them in completing their task. The quality of the self-controlled, explorative learning process is ensured by quality standards for each step. The standards include methodological and formal aspects only. The qualitative evaluation indicates that the project is very effective.

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