Extraordinary learning results through high demands, engaging tools and a great deal of passion

With the final exams last week, we concluded the 2011-12 Organization Analysis course for Bachelor Students of Economics in Copenhagen Business School.
The results were significantly higher than expected more than 55% of the students getting above average degrees. Many of these first year students performed at a level you would expect from third year students.
The censor, who have been examining students for more than 15 years was very impressed and wanted to know the story behind the numbers
So what is the secret?
Looking back, I believe there were three significant factors that contributed to the results:

  1. From the very first day, I have persistently encouraged the students to set goals and ground rules for themselves. I have challenged the students through multiple written exercises and given them very direct feedback on their performance.
  2.  I have engaged with the students in new ways, including weekly communication with the students between the lessons on a Facebook group, facilitated Google Docs based collaborative notetaking, and introduction of a organization analysis board game. I have tried to challenge conventions and be as open and direct with the students as possible – for instance, between the handing in of the reports and the final exam, I encourage the students to rehearse exams providing feedback on eachother’s reports (the convention here is that there is no communication between the teacher and the students in between the handing in and the exams)
  3.  The students were extremely passionate about the course, and have probably put quit a lot of pressure on each other in terms of contributing to the exercises, delivering in time etc. And the passion has been shared – I have come to care a lot about these students.

So can these results be replicated? Probably not. The three factors above are interconnected, and it would be very difficult to point out what comes first. Without the passion of the students, none of it would have been possible. Without the pressure and the frequent communication, they might have lost interest.
If anything, I believe it demonstrates that directive and engaging teaching styles are not opposites, but can be combined to enhance success.

Leave a Reply