Phil Race

Assessment, learning and teaching in higher education

Masterclass: ‘Making Learning Happen’


This masterclass is essentially ‘Phil Race Highlights’, a collection of the most popular workshop elements from the various programmes in my Workshops Prospectus, and based on several themes in the 2nd edition of ‘Making Learning Happen’ (2010), and new material which is now in press for the 3rd edition due to come out in May 2014. I have  now run this masterclass many times in the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Holland and Australia, adapting it each time to the experience and wishes of participants – it’s never the same twice! What is described below should be regarded only as the starting position. 

In this masterclass, I intend participants to learn as much from the interactive processes used throughout the day as from the content of the various sessions, and to be able to adapt many of the things we do into their own teaching. This masterclass is designed for staff who have already got some experience of teaching in universities or colleges, but also serves as an ‘in at the deep end’ experience for new staff.

The masterclass is usually in four main parts:

  1. Factors underpinning successful learning – a fresh look at how students really learn.
  2. Feedback: the lifeblood of successful learning – ways of getting better feedback to more students in less time.
  3. Towards assessment as learning – practical ideas to help students deepen their learning by self-assessing their own work, and peer-assessing the work of others.
  4. Creative problem-solving – what can we do to make teaching work better?

Intended learning outcomes
After participating in this masterclass, you will be better able to:

Think afresh about how students really learn.

  1. Identify, and address in your teaching, seven factors underpinning successful learning.
  2. Give more students better feedback in less time!
  3. Involve students in assessing their own and each others’ work.
  4. Take away creative solutions to some of the most common problems you experience.
  5. Apply techniques used throughout the day to your own teaching.

Masterclass Outline Programme   (timings can be adjusted to suit local requirements)

0915      Coffee and informal introductions.
0930     Introductory exercise: ‘Teaching would work better for me if only I…’
0950     How students really learn – seven factors underpinning successful learning.
1100      Coffee break.
1120      Giving more students better feedback in less time – review of your existing methods in terms of effectiveness and  efficiency, and exploration of alternatives, including ’24-hour’ feedback.
1230     Lunch.
1330     Towards assessment as learning: using self- and peer-assessment to help assessment to deepen students learning.
1500     Coffee break.
1520     Creative problem solving exercise on problems identified by groups, relating to assessment, feedback, learning and teaching.
1600     Close of masterclass.


(Note: this is a full and busy masterclass, where successive elements build on earlier ones, and is not suitable for people to drop in and out of).

Reference material:

Race P (2010) Making learning happen: 2nd edition London: Sage publications, and including stuff from the 3rd edition coming out in May 2014).

Facilities needed
Data projector and screen (I bring my own laptop); Supply of post-its. Flipchart.

Maximum number of participants: 50
Minimum number of participants: 12

Preferred room layout
Cabaret, e.g. six tables with six participants at each for total group of 36, and so on.

Written by Phil

10 May, 2013 at 11:11 am