Universities are in the business of education and strive to ensure the delivery of high quality learning experiences. It is projected that within the next 30 years more people world-wide will be graduating from University than since the beginning of history. As the numbers of students continues to climb globally, so too does the range of diversity among the student body. Students come to the classroom with a wide range of skills and abilities and along with them an equally broad set of learning styles and requirements. As the ever-growing population of students pursues post-secondary qualifications, the system will continue to be challenged in adapting to meet the broader educational needs of these students through the development of new and innovative methods of teaching and learning.
Conventional top-down models of knowledge acquisition which emphasizes the transfer of information from “experts” onto “non-experts” through lecture-style approaches no longer meet the educational needs of students today. Access to high levels of knowledge is no longer an arcane concept. Technology has allowed information to become accessible all over the world, at all intellectual levels, in extremely short periods of time. Information which historically could only be accessed through direct interactions with those proficient in the field of study can now be readily accessed through other media. This evolution of information accessibility allows “non-experts” the ability to utilize their own resources in order to acquire new knowledge. This type of knowledge acquisition model reflects of more bottom-up approach to teaching and learning in the post-secondary institution where students can be given the freedom and responsibility to drive their own educational experience.
In order to better engage students in post-secondary institutions we should aim to develop new, and improve existing programs which support bottom-up models of teaching and learning.