Teaching transferable skills

Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway


Besides teaching students discipline-based content and skills, we also aim to provide them with transferable or employability skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills and team work. However, in traditional lecture-based course delivery the lecturer bears responsibility for the learning process, while students receive skills and knowledge passively (Albert 2009). With active learning approaches, the lecturer takes a role of a guide who facilitates students’ learning and skill acquisition through frequent feedback. Such teaching practices are shown to improve students’ learning gains, but there is not much done on evaluating learning and development of transferable skills. Furthermore, lecturers often do not explicitly state to students where (and how) those skills are taught. Research also indicates students have difficulties identifying in full the transferable skills they are being thought (Burke et al 2005). More importantly, students will not see them as important part of their learning if they are not included on their assessment in some way. Therefore, an alignment between these transferable skills and the assessment is needed if we want our students to be self-aware of the skills we claim to be equipping them with. I will discuss ways of modifying unit assessment to make these skills more explicit and possibly measurable.


transferable skills, learning transfer, skills evaluation, active learning

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