Magazine article New Zealand Management

Thought Leader: Turning Education on Its Head

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Thought Leader: Turning Education on Its Head

Article excerpt

Byline: Dr Geoff Perry

The first university in the English-speaking world was the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1167. It received its first international student in 1190. We've come a long way since then. Or have we?

In the last decade views on the most effective way to deliver educational outcomes that are relevant and valuable to industry, have shifted dramatically. And it's not about to slow down.

So what's changing?

Primarily, it's the continuing realisation that it's the experience of doing things that enhances the educational experience. Being faced with a problem to solve forces one to inquire about the circumstances of that problem and source the content that will enable them to identify, test and select solutions. The modern term for this approach is inquiry-based learning, in other words learning through discovery.

This is not a new concept. Early pioneers such as Jean Piaget coined the term during the development of their constructivist learning theories in the early 1960s. However, opportunity still abounds to embrace this approach in improving educational outcomes for the community as a whole.

As a part of the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income's Money Week 2012, the AUT Business School's Auckland Centre for Financial Research co-hosted a financial literacy symposium where it presented research findings on the relationship between financial literacy and financial decision making.

The study demonstrated that it is not necessarily the case that improvements in financial literacy lead to better decision making, but that this relationship is actually the other way around, through the decision-making process, people acquire more financial literacy. This finding reinforced the value of an inquiry-based approach in challenging students to solve real-life problems that had an important financial literacy requirement as key to the solution, such as going through the process of buying a house.

Delivering relevant value to industry and the community is core to the AUT Business School's vision and strategic goals. It goes without saying that academic professionals will always direct much of the research work they take on. However, embracing inquiry-based learning allows AUT Business School to embark on a journey of identifying the key issues faced by particular industries. …

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