An Exploratory Study of the Learning of Transferable Skills in a Research-Oriented Intensive Course in Atmospheric Sciences

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Ruuskanen , T , Vehkamäki , H , Riuttanen , L & Lauri , A 2018 , ' An Exploratory Study of the Learning of Transferable Skills in a Research-Oriented Intensive Course in Atmospheric Sciences ' , Sustainability , vol. 10 , no. 5 , 1385 . https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051385

Title: An Exploratory Study of the Learning of Transferable Skills in a Research-Oriented Intensive Course in Atmospheric Sciences
Author: Ruuskanen, Taina; Vehkamäki, Hanna; Riuttanen, Laura; Lauri, Antti
Contributor: University of Helsinki, INAR Physics
University of Helsinki, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)
University of Helsinki, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)
University of Helsinki, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)
Date: 2018-05-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 20
Belongs to series: Sustainability
ISSN: 2071-1050
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/237772
Abstract: Transferable skills, such as learning skills as well as oral and written communication skills, are needed by today’s experts. The learning of transferable skills was studied during a multidisciplinary two-week, research-oriented intensive course in atmospheric sciences. Students were assessed on their experience of learning data analysis, writing reports and articles, oral presentation, learning and teaching, as well as project and time management skills and the importance of learning these transferable skills in the beginning and at the end of the course. The learning outcomes were constructively aligned with the course and it supported the learning of transferable skills needed by researchers working with multidisciplinary research questions. The methods of teaching were group work, data analysis of real scientific questions and real scientific data, a few expert lectures, discussions with experts and peer-support, and the course evaluation that was based on the groups’ oral presentations and a written report. The groups consisted of seven to eight students and four to six assistants who were working side-by-side for the period of the course. Students considered data analysis, including the formulation of research questions, as the most important transferable skill of the course and stated that it was also what they learned the most. We conclude that the students felt that working with real scientific questions and data in multidisciplinary groups supports the learning of transferable skills. The findings suggest that the students may have learned transferable skills from peers, assistants, and teachers while working in small groups of students in different stages of their studies. The study was conducted from student feedback from one course only, but we have observed while organizing over 50 similar courses that working on real scientific questions and data in a multidisciplinary and multicultural course has been motivating for both the teachers and the students. We recommend this method to be used by research groups who are training the future generation of researchers and experts in atmospheric sciences and other fields.
Subject: 114 Physical sciences
516 Educational sciences
transferable skills
data-analyzing skills
multidisciplinary
intensive course
EDUCATION
SUSTAINABILITY
KNOWLEDGE
STUDENTS
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