Project introduction and background information
A new BSc-program Mechanical Engineering (ME) UT/VU, a cooperation between the University of Twente and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, was started in September 2019 at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The developers of this new program were given the opportunity to implement a pilot project 'RTTI online learning and development method'.
RTTI stands for Reproduction, Training, Transfer, and Insight/Innovation (see www.docentplus.nl for more information). This method provides an innovative way to guide both lecturers and students in their thinking and behaviour. For lecturers, it helps to systematically improve the quality of their tests via the RTTI method. For students, it provides an integrated online feedback system (OPSA) to guide their learning and improve their study results. OPSA stands for Organization, Participation, Self-Confidence and Autonomy. RTTI and OPSA are linked to a large number of learning strategies that students can learn. These are addressed during the Academic Skills lectures on teamwork.
Objective and expected outcomes
- Insight and knowledge about ‘learning, thinking and behavior’ of BSc Mechanical Engineering Students.
- Optimization of student guidance in terms of cognitive learning in relation to ‘drop-out’ or other reasons for study delay
By working with both instruments, teachers and students learn from both cognition (RTTI) and behaviour (OPSA) assessments. In the project we put our emphasis especially on OPSA. Focusing on behavior for learning means that the students gets to know themselves better and learn how to optimize their learning capacity through self-reflection and peer review. In addition to this, teachers were supported in learning about how RTTI can be used to evaluate the accuracy with which their assessments measure student learning.
Results and learnings
The project’s start-up delay with one semester (because of software privacy agreements) and the 1,5-year pandemic (with online teaching) we faced during the project time made it impossible to execute the project properly.
Based on the analyzes (study results, students and teachers questionnaires and interviews) we have to conclude that we cannot answer the research question ‘How can the RTTI online learning system enhance learning in a technical academic program?
The data we did collect do not show a direct correlation between RTTI/OPSA and students' learning performance.
But what did we learn from the RTTI/OPSA project?
· The Corona pandemic has certainly had a huge impact on the implementation of RTTI/OPSA online, but teachers indicate that the RTTI/OPSA online system offers more disadvantages than advantages and it is also not that appropriate within the academic setting of the BSc ME UT/VU programme in which a teacher only sees the students for a short time during the period of teaching the course (i.e. 8 weeks).
The pilot project Report is attached.