Hello, my name is Ed Trotman and
I’m employed as a graduate intern with the University of Manchester, working
specifically on the Schools-University Partnership Initiative (SUPI). I’ve
recently graduated from the University with an MA in Art Gallery and Museum
Studies. Prior to this I completed an undergraduate degree in History at the
University of Bristol.
You might not have heard of Museum
Studies as a degree option - it involves the study of the role of museums and
galleries in society as well as how museum professionals (e.g. curators,
conservators, educationalists) go about putting on displays and exhibitions.
The idea is that it provides a basic training to enter the museum sector. As a
Master’s degree it took place over the duration of a year (although some
Masters take longer!). In this time I learnt about a variety of aspects of
museum work. I also did a lot of volunteering with staff at the Manchester
Museum, the Manchester Central Library, the Museum of Science and Industry and
Manchester Art Gallery. The course culminated in a research project assignment.
This could be on any topic related to Art Gallery and Museum Studies.
Thinking about my experiences of
learning about and working in museums and art galleries I decided that I wanted
to investigate the educational role of these institutions. I discovered that
cultural organisations play a bigger role in society than I was aware of. It is
common, for instance, to find that museums carry out community outreach
projects in poorer socio-economic areas, host workshop classes for the very
elderly and those with dementia and provide educational activities for people
of all ages and backgrounds struggling with disability.
Despite their social good however,
factors including transport costs, limited free time and a lack of familiarity
with cultural institutions often prevent many adults from accessing the
museum’s educational resources. I was interested to know how museums and
galleries could seek to attract more adult visitors to talks and workshops, how
best to engage with them whilst they were there and how to encourage them to
After doing some reading I found
that not that much research had been done by academics within the field of
Museum Studies into adult education in cultural institutions (which was
actually pretty shocking!). In order to understand more about the best ways of
going about adult education in museums/galleries I looked at Adult Learning
theory. In particular, I read about the Theory of Andragogy by Malcolm S.
Knowles. This is a foundational theory of adult learning which states that adults
learn differently to children. Knowles defines six key principles which explain
how adults learn differently. These include the ideas that adults rely heavily
on lived experience to learn, that they always need to know why they need to
learn something before learning it and that they prefer to be self-directed
when learning. When these ideas were published in the sixties they were fairly
controversial but have now become more accepted. Knowles argues that these
principles can be applied to almost any situation in which adults are being
encouraged to learn.
The focus of my research was to
understand if Knowles’ principles had broader application within cultural
institutions. I assessed two educational sessions for adults at Manchester Art
Gallery including a gallery tour and a workshop, carrying out focus group
interviews with participants in both. I found that, in the workshop class, many
of these ideas were already being used by gallery staff to great effect and
could be seen to have application. In the tour session meanwhile it was clear
that teaching staff were contravening several of Knowles’s principles and
consequently adults reported feeling frustrated with their experiences. As a
result I concluded that the principles of Andragogy had practical use here. The
process of carrying out this research and writing it up was really interesting,
especially as I felt like I was contributing something new to the field of
Museum Studies. I got to speak to members of the public about art and art
galleries and practice my interview skills.
If you want to find out more about
my MA, the Theory of Andragogy or the sessions I attended at Manchester Art
Gallery follow the links below:
Art Gallery and Museum Studies at
the University of Manchester: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/courses/list/01100/art-gallery-and-museum-studies-ma/
Knowles’ Theory of Andragogy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andragogy
Manchester Art Gallery, Exhibitions
and Events: http://manchesterartgallery.org/exhibitions-and-events/
Museums Association http://www.museumsassociation.org/home
Hi, my name is Kelly and I now work in the Student
Recruitment and Widening Participation department of the University of
Manchester. For the past three years, I have been a student studying Psychology
at the University and for the thirteen years before that, I too was propelled
along the standard education pipeline (or maybe not so standard anymore) by
attending first school, middle school and high school.
One of the main parts of my job, for the past couple months
now, has been the development of an EBL project for our visiting Year 11
students. EBL stands for ‘Enquiry Based Learning’ (or Inquiry Based Learning if
you’re American) and is equivalent to ‘Problem Based Learning’, which you might
have heard of before. This method of teaching starts with a question, a problem
or a scenario, and it is the student’s task to solve this problem, with the aid
of a facilitator.
Not a teacher.
That’s great, right?
The lack of teacher leading the way means that the road from
problem to solution is less smooth, less clear, but then when in life is the
answer ever clear? In this situation, you are
responsible for your own learning, for figuring out your answers and where they
fall into the topic of your choice. This method of independent learning is
fundamental to the way students traditionally learn at university.
- You’re given a topic
or a lecture – a foundation, so you can understand the task
- You are provided
with resources to be used as starting points (these can be textbooks, journal
articles or websites)
- And then you have to
produce work at the end of it e.g. an essay, a report or a presentation, about
what you've found out
This is what I've tried to
recreate in my own EBL project for visiting Y11 students. This project is the
finale to the flagship pre-16 Gateways programme, ran by the University of
Manchester. Groups of school pupils visit campus year upon year, from Y7 to Y11,
to find out more about the opportunities to study in Higher Education and
develop new and transferable skills. In this final part of the programme,
students are presented with a lecture on a case study (a Volcanic Disaster for
this year). They were then sorted into groups depending on their interests and
sent away (with the help of a Student Ambassador) to research that area for an
hour and a half. The day finishes with each group giving a presentation on what
they found and a prize is given to the group that presented the best.
This transition from teacher-led to research-led learning
replicates what you would experience if you chose to study at university. When
you’re at the cutting edge of your field and learning the newest knowledge
being published to date, it’s highly likely that you’ll find yourself not knowing
the answers, and being in the position where YOU could contribute to future
knowledge, explanations and discoveries.
Throughout your early school days, you may have been taught
that there’s only one right answer, and you’ll get a mark for getting that
answer right. University is different. There might be some things that we THINK
answer the question, but these may still be debated. Something you, or the
media or the educational system take for a fact, may still actually be not so
Some courses at university take advantage of this method.
Medicine is taught using in many universities around the country. It works in similar
to the EBL project above: all of the medics would be split off into groups with
people they don’t know, they would be given a case study – perhaps a patient
with a case of symptoms. It would be their job to work together to research and
collaborate and figure out the causes and treatments of the case.
I believe taking part in EBL tasks early on in education has
the advantage of pressing students to think outside of the box and to find their
own answers; sometimes topics can be more complicated than just getting the
Here are some references you may find useful:
name is Laura, and I am taking a year away from being a medical student to
complete a masters in Health Care Ethics and Law. Medical schools call this
year out an "intercalation year" and offers it to all medical
students interested in earning an extra science-related degree on top of their
current medical degree. In my fourth-year at medical school, I started a
research project to explore how medical students used social media to achieve
their learning goals. Is there a place for social media in an academic
institution at all? Can social media actually benefit students rather than be a
distraction? This was what I wanted to find out. Right now, the study has gone
international with medical schools as far as Australia, North America, Saudi
Arabia and many more taking part!
I think it is
safe to say that most of you are on some sort of social media website, whether
that is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. At the very least you will have heard
of them. Mostly they are used for leisure purposes, but could they also offer
some learning benefits?
For a while
now, higher education institutions have adopted social media technology as a
means of delivering curricula. Medicine is a discipline that has only just
started to look into this possibility. Our research study has identified
several ways in which social media is currently used to facilitate curricula
delivery and supplement independent learning:
Facebook groups with peers to extend small group seminar discussions to the
of academic resources and journals via social media
effective communication channels between peers and lecturers irrespective of
classroom hours and physical location
hastags on Twitter appropriate to the subject they are learning
YouTube videos for practical procedure demonstrations or tutorials
applications available to doctors and medical students where they can share and
discuss pictures of clinical examination findings, blood test results, chest
x-rays, electrocardiograms, MRI/CT scans etc.
interactive twitter feeds in classrooms to answer students' questions and
The list could go on. The body of research
literature available to date indicates there are positive outcomes to the
implementation of social media technology into the medical curriculum which
outweighs any drawbacks - increased motivation and engagement with study
material, increased likelihood of seeking academic support, improved exam
scores, improved confidence with the subject and better knowledge retention.
The study is still ongoing and the next phase will involve investigating
whether attitudes towards social media use in medical education differs between
countries or cultures.
To find out
more about studying medicine at undergraduate level or doing an intercalation
Medical School http://www.mms.manchester.ac.uk