All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE), AISHE-C 2008: Encouraging Student Engagement

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Work on your ABS!
John Fogarty, Gina Noonan

Last modified: 2009-01-22


Applied Business Solutions is an innovative, enquiry-based learning module, piloted in the School of Business in IT Carlow in the academic year 2007/08. The module allowed final year BBS (Hons) students to apply their acquired knowledge to a range of business scenarios. This was achieved by embracing a learner-centred approach which promoted the use of a range of teaching methodologies including PBL, case studies and project-based learning, many of which involved cooperation with real businesses and organizations.

The module consisted of a number of independent learning tasks of variable duration, each having its own prescribed learning outcomes and assessment strategies. The learning outcomes of each of the individual tasks mapped to those of the overall module. These outcomes focused on the students being able to apply theory, synthesize knowledge and develop key transferable skills through the execution of the tasks. The tasks were both individual and group-based and, in the case of the latter, both the task deliverable and the group process were assessed.

ABS is assessed entirely through continuous assessment and in order to facilitate this, a variety of assessment strategies were adopted, including elements of both self and peer assessment. In addition, as part of each task, the students had to maintain a reflective learning journal in which they outlined details of their learning and progress throughout the task. This allowed them to take more responsibility for their learning and to play a greater role in the entire learning process. This learning journal, along with the completed tasks' deliverables, constituted a learning portfolio compiled by the students on completion of the module.


Enquiry-based learning; learner-centred; problem-based learning; PBL; Project-based learning; active learning; student centred