PedaL Pedagogy


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PedaL pedagogy places the responsibility on teaching staff as facilitators to create the appropriate environment for a holistic teaching and learning experience that integrates the student, content and a variety of learning materials to make learning interesting and effective both inside and outside the classroom. The pedagogy is comprised of a suite of varied approaches driven by pedagogical tools that seek to transform the learning experience and achieve better learning outcomes in graduate social science programmes. These tools combine technology and human interaction (blended learning) to produce exceptional learning moments and events. These tools include: case study teaching, flipped classroom, role plays, tricky topics and simulations.

Case study teaching

This includes using case studies and e-cases. An e-case is an interactive multimedia case that presents real life scenarios that encourage learners to be inquisitive and actively explore concepts and issues rather than passively absorbing the subject matter. They provide a descriptive story of the situation under account and offer more graphic and persuasive form of the shared situation. They are can either be hosted online or stored on local drives in computers.

Flipped classroom

This is a blended learning strategy that involves moving the lecture outside of class, usually delivered through some electronic means (e.g. videos, narrated presentations or podcasts) and moving the practical application assignments into the classroom. The classroom component is varied as well, with different learning expectations, engagement techniques, levels of student autonomy, and other variability.

Role plays

Role play exercises give students the opportunity to assume the role of a person or act out a given situation. These roles can be performed by individual students in pairs or in groups which can play out a more complex scenario. Role plays engage students in real-life situations or scenarios that can be “stressful unfamiliar, complex, or controversial” which requires them to examine personal feelings toward others and their circumstances”. Role playing exercises encourage students to think more critically about complex and controversial subjects and to see situations from a different perspective.

Tricky topics

Tricky topics tool uses a range of innovative, creative technologies to support student-led learning. These technologies include video editing software and interactive large screen displays (such as interactive whiteboards). The tool helps teachers break down tricky topics into a set of stumbling blocks and uncovers the reasons why these are problems for the students. Teachers identify topics that they consider “problematic” to students create a storyboard to explain the tricky topic. The teacher then guides students to students to perform a diagnostic quiz to determine their level of understanding about the tricky topic. This is followed by the process of video editing and sharing those videos. Students then re-assess their understanding of the tricky topic. The comparison between the results obtained before and after the video creation provide a strong evidence of the level of understanding developed as part of the learning activity. Tricky topics are a practice based on application of the theory ‘Threshold Concepts’ (TCs). The pedagogical theory for TCs has become a focal point for understanding conceptual barriers learners encounter towards a deeper understanding of a concept. In particular, barriers to understanding TCs have been related to liminality, where the learning process of overcoming troublesome concepts and thus internalizing the understanding, is considered a learning journey rather than a learning outcome. TCs were originally identified in two founding papers as a ‘portal’ to a different way of thinking through internalization of concepts without which the learner finds it difficult to progress. They are said to be more than just “key” or “core” concepts and form the starting point for transformative learning. The barriers presented by TCs can be so great, they may cause a learner to fail or give up a subject altogether and research has highlighted the need to focus on effective methods for teaching them. One key impact of threshold concepts is its shift away from learning outcomes and its change towards a pedagogical emphasis on the learner and their barriers to understanding within the learning journey.


 A simulation creates a dynamic environment in which students can make decisions concerning development issues to explore decision making techniques and see the results of specific decisions. They can be used to demonstrate principles and provide experiential learning. This type of active learning provides both students and instructors a change from the traditional classroom lecture and can be used to highlight and support lecture-related materials.