4th Day of Teaching at FH Aachen | Teaching Impulses

Deep Learning - From Knowledge to Understanding | 10.10.2019

Active Teaching for Sustainable Learning 


"This Day of Teaching is also a Day of Learning." With his welcoming words, Prof. Dr. Josef Rosenkranz, Vice Rector for Studies and Teaching at FH Aachen, summed up the tenor of the event. FH Aachen had issued an invitation to the 4th Day of Teaching, the motto of the event was "Deep Learning - From Knowledge to Understanding". Around 160 participants - teachers, staff and students - had come to the FH Aachen main building to discuss the question of how to shape teaching in such a way that it leads to sustainable learning.

In times of digitalisation, knowledge is freely available in unprecedented quantities; it is crucial to develop responsible as well as creative methods for transferring knowledge into understanding. In his welcoming address, Rector Prof. Dr. Marcus Baumann emphasised: "At our university, students learn to not only reproduce information, but to reflect on it, to question it, to connect it in new ways, and to develop it into new knowledge through understanding".

So how do you ensure that students not only have knowledge, but also an understanding? What can teachers contribute to progressing from comprehension to application, analysis or synthesis of knowledge? Dr. Kristina Edström from Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Stockholm, already provided interesting answers in the first specialist lecture. She argued in favour of setting clear goals and defending high quality standards. However, this would only be a promising approach if the courses offered reward active learning on the part of the students. She said: "We have to design the courses in such a way that the work of the students leads to the desired goal".

It would seem self-evident that students should achieve the goals of the respective degree programme. However, examination preparations and successfully completed examinations do not always lead to in-depth learning and comprehension: the desired learning outcomes are not achieved and can no longer be called up in later phases of studies or in the professional world. In his lecture, Prof. Dr. Peter Riegler from the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel dealt with how erroneous understanding of students can be recognised and effectively overcome. He presented research results which show that the "comprehension rate" of students is significantly higher when (inter)active learning methods are used within the framework of teaching.

The Day of Teaching was also a Day of Learning: through workshops and a panel discussion, the participants got the opportunity to exchange views on various aspects of modern teaching and to take away new suggestions. The cooperation of the students was important as well. During the panel discussion, Ann-Kathrin Dragesser and Marco Trawinsky emphasised that they would like to see a faster introduction of innovative teaching methods.

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