Mzuzu University consciously orientate their efforts to the needs of Malawi and the community. This has led to a number of research projects that are based in the community. For example, investigating the use of alternative power sources, such as biomass.
These projects provides a superb opportunity to engage students in real life problems (motivating the learner) and see how theory relates to practice. Theory can be provided in the classroom; applied in the real world; critiqued and new theory developed (classic learning cycle!). In addition, information resources that relate to the topic can be interrogated, analysed and evaluated for their relevance, completeness, accuracy and authority.
Students can also be involved in data gathering i.e. primary data collection – developing research and data processing skills.
This could then lead to knowledge generation and communication. This would either be in the form of student’s work or, possibly, academic research publication.
A genuine VIRTUOUS CYCLE!
This kind of learning could also be used to hang other i-capabilities, such as intellectual property issues and research skills in general.
This approach seems appropriate for any learning context but especially resource scarce environments, for example where there is a lack of published resources (either electronic or paper based).
It would be good if other people could contribute other examples of this kind of activity.