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From teaching to learning

The first “Didaktik Intensiv” continuing education programme was concluded in December. Since May, a total of 11 senior lecturers, doctoral students and lecturers have attended four modules on the topics of university teaching, using activating methods, supervising writing processes and assessing performances. Successful completion of the modules was awarded with a total of five ECTS credits.

The first “Didaktik Intensiv” continuing education programme was concluded in December. Since May, a total of 11 senior lecturers, doctoral students and lecturers have attended four modules on the topics of university teaching, using activating methods, supervising writing processes and assessing performances. Successful completion of the modules was awarded with a total of five ECTS credits.

The Unit for Teaching, Learning and Applied Linguistics congratulates the first certified university didactics experts from the University of Liechtenstein.



At www.uni.li/didaktik, the Unit for Teaching, Learning and Applied Linguistics provides an overview of its continuing education offers. Registration for “Didaktik Basis” and “Didaktik Intensiv”, which take place in 2012, is already open.


From teaching to learning
University didactics at the University of Liechtenstein

Teaching at a university does not only include the transfer of knowledge, it also aims at supporting students and helping them reach their defined learning goals. This is how today’s expectations of the lecturers’ work can be summarized. In workshops with Thomas Tribelhorn, Head of University Didactics at the University of Bern, lecturers from the University of Liechtenstein receive instructions on how to meet these requirements.

“I spent three years teaching in the teacher-up-front style, i.e. standing in front of the class. Since this year, I have been working with small groups,” says one architecture lecturer. “Lectures with my 35 students have now changed significantly. We now approach the content in a problem-oriented way, and I can try out what I learnt in the seminar.” The person responsible for the courses points out that the workshops are structured in the same way the lecturers will later be working with their students. In small groups, they learn what they can include in their lectures later on. “It is impressive to see how natural it is for the lecturers to implement new ideas, how much knowledge they have already accumulated and what great team spirit they create here,” she says.

Learning how students learn
The programme focuses on concepts for improved teaching, exploring problems from situations in practice, such as testing and assessing. What do students need to know, and how do you recognize when they know? It quickly becomes clear that, first of all, the requirements have to be formulated, and that a good evaluation grid is helpful when assessing these. The role of post-exam discussions, i.e. encouraging feedback for students, is also discussed.

Gaining knowledge that can be applied
The aim of teaching is that students are able to independently solve complex problems when they have completed their studies. “That is why we have to make sure they do not accumulate inert knowledge,” explains workshop coordinator Thomas Tribelhorn. “The phrase ‘inert knowledge’ is derived from cognitive research and describes the kind of knowledge that cannot be applied in practice in a perceptive or pragmatic way. It can be tested in exams, but is not implemented in practice. Information does not equal knowledge, and knowledge does not equal the capability to act,” he adds, and points out that cooperative learning has many advantages. “Because in a group, your own ideas are questioned by others, and you have to think further and develop a more flexible way of thinking. That is how a learning process is initiated.” The workshop’s participants are quick to realize how important the shift from teaching to learning is, i.e. how the actual learning processes can be brought to attention.


Thomas Tribelhorn, lic. phil.
Head of University Didactics at the University of Bern
Head of the University Didactics Group
Academic Director of the continuing education programme Hochschullehre/Higher Education (CAS HE Unibe)
Teaching of university didactics, development of programmes and innovative teaching and learning methods
Consultations for development of continuing education offers, programmes and syllabuses.

Interview with Thomas Tribelhorn for Download
DidaktivIntensiv_InterviewTribelhorn_EN.pdf