Our courses use the PEC Academic Model of Learning. Here, we break down what the model is and how it elevates the learning experience for our students, with insights from the experts behind the scenes who helped to integrate the model into our range of courses.
By Elena Carruthers. Published 20 September 2023.
Who is the PEC Model for?
The PEC Model of learning is for everyone. It is built into our courses across all subject areas and ensures a cohesive learning experience for students. Reflecting on the effectiveness of the model, our National Programme & Student Affairs Director, Peter Goodchild, said: “Our learning materials and the syllabus itself are built around the PEC model. All students, online and face-to-face, full time and part time, use the same approach for each unit of study, but with the engagement tailored to each mode of study.”
How is the model structured?
The ‘Prepare’ section of the model relates to helping students have all the support and resources they need prior to learning. Accordingly, we ensure that our courses come with a range of preliminary reading and support from tutors as well as additional resources.
This stage usually consists of a Preparatory Test so that students can put their preliminary reading and research into practise, and then come into their first lesson feeling motivated and prepared. The test also allows students to flag any areas of the research they need clarification on before moving on to the next stage of the learning cycle.
Once the preliminary reading and preparation has been done, the next priority is to engage with the material at a higher level. Naturally, not every topic or module will be a favourite, but that does not mean it cannot still be engaging. This stage will typically consist of tasks such as essay writing or group projects, challenging students to think critically about the subject and apply the knowledge to different scenarios.
The end of the ‘Engage’ stage will also see students receiving feedback for their work, helping them to progress and develop on any areas of improvement, and additionally, to identify their strengths. Elaborating on this stage of the model, our National Programme Director for Online programmes, Richard Haggett said: “As I often say, knowledge is not power; the use of knowledge is power. So, with Engage, that’s where your learning is empowered, undertaking tasks using your Prepare input.”
Many of us have researched or revised a topic, only to forget much of the content shortly after. Our brains are not hardwired to remember every piece of information it receives, so sometimes an extra ‘push’ is needed to transfer that information from the short-term to the long-term memory. The ‘Consolidate’ stage of the model consists of testing your knowledge, particularly in the form of Single Best Answer (SBA) style questions to check your understanding and challenge you to summarise it as concisely as possible.
It is also a time to discuss any common queries with peers and your academic tutor, reflecting and gaining new perspectives. Finally, we provide additional resources such as revision hotlines to further support with the consolidation stage.
Why is the PEC Model such an effective framework?
The PEC Model goes beyond the academic and encourages a method of applying knowledge that helps students to develop professionally. Adding to this, Richard explained: “The model enables exercising the employable skills of coming to a matter prepared, then engaging with it by producing work and then consolidating, reflecting on the gained experience once done, to enhance future performance.”
“There are deeper-seated, longer-term employability gains delivered by the PEC model. With all the disciplines across the University, those highly valued attributes of being prepared, engaging and consolidating are all big-ticket indicators of how able and adept you’ve become.”
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