Hands-on, interactive and team-based learning produces the type of critical-thinking skills that can be more readily transferred from the classroom to a student’s career. Many Benedictine University at Mesa classes are problem-based, which is different than what most students experience. Faculty champion a Next Generation Learning curriculum that focuses on application, decision-making and problem-solving.
Professors use innovative techniques in the classroom to challenge students to actively learn, utilize technology and apply knowledge. They focus on creating student activities that address real problems, and projects or themes that require critical and creative thinking. Professors also guide students to research and utilize outside resources.
Students come to class prepared to apply what they learned from content studied through homework, viewing archived lectures and presentations, online discussions, independent research, social media and other paths toward real-world problems. Class time is spent participating in discussions and activities that cannot be done outside of class.
The use of technology is a major component to the success of the next generation learning style. Lectures and the traditional shape of classroom space is changed to reflect small-group discussions focused on interactive problem-solving. Traditional lecture materials are often made available online and on shared digital space for remote collaboration and exchange 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Service learning projects supplement the classroom experiences. Regardless of major, this increased engagement fosters stronger relationships among students and faculty, improves learning and success, and prepares students for real-world experiences.