Research-informed teaching is a term used to describe the different ways in which students are exposed to research content and activity during their time at University. Linking research and teaching benefits students by:
- providing students with meaningful and deep learning experiences
- enhancing the student experience of real-world issues
- developing critical thinking
- improving student confidence
- enhancing employability
- developing digital and networking skills
- highlighting the profile of undergraduate research.
For an overview check out the body of work produced by Mick Healey and Alan Jenkins. This literature provides us with some useful models and ideas to start creating research-informed learning experiences for students. For example, research-led, research-orientated, research-tutored, research-based teaching and teaching-led research.
Research-led teaching describes how existing research underpins curriculum content. This might be our own research findings or the research outputs of others.
Research is the process of asking questions and applying scientific method to answering them. Graduates of higher education should recognise and apply research methods to solve issues in their disciplinary and professional context.
Students should, therefore, learn about the suitability and application of different methodological approaches in their discipline.
Students and lecturers engage in critical discussions about the research process and outputs. Check out Professor Tansy Jessop’s vodcast on research-tutored teaching.
Is where students learn about a subject through a process of inquiry using methods of inquiry, analysis and dissemination appropriate to their discipline. This is beneficial for students’ meta-cognitive, disciplinary and professional development. Research projects can be small and low stakes or a capstone project such as a dissertation or exhibition. Check out Professor Tansy Jessop’s vodcast on research-based teaching.
Teaching-led research happens when the curriculum is designed so that students learn through activities which contribute to departmental research projects, simultaneously learning for themselves and progressing real-world projects. Tony Harland writes persuasively about the benefits of this approach.