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The Relevance of Relevance Theory to Student Learning

The Relevance of Relevance Theory to Student Learning. Busayo Ige (PhD). Introduction.

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The Relevance of Relevance Theory to Student Learning

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  1. The Relevance of Relevance Theory to Student Learning Busayo Ige (PhD)

  2. Introduction • The Intervention Programme (IP) in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Intervention Programme is a comprehensive academic support programme in the Faculty of Health Sciences, designed to foster academic development and success in students in the Disciplines of Audiology, Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology and Physiotherapy. • IP provides students who have failed in their first semester of study the opportunity to complete their degree by adding one year to the minimum time required for the degree (eg. a four year Physiotherapy degree can be extended to five years).

  3. FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions • “Why are we learning this?” • “How am I going to use this in Audiology?” • “What’s the point of doing this?” • “I don’t see why we are doing linguistics?” • “What does that funny language (phonetics) has to do with Audiology?” • “I was not interested because I don’t know why we are doing English?” • “I don’t see the connection and I don’t understand it?” • “It doesn’t make any sense to me..what really is the point in learning this course?” It is clear from these Questions. that Relevance is an important concept to students, as it is for everyone who engages in any form of communication.

  4. Relevance theory • Relevance theory argues that the thing that causes an input to stand out from others is its relevance to the receiver ( Wilson and Sperber 1985) • Intuitively an input (sights, sounds, utterance, thoughts, memory) is relevant to an individual when it connects with background information that he or she has available to yeild conclusions that matter to him or her. • An input is considered relevant to an individual when the person processing the information is able to see the possibility of the information yielding a positive cognitive effect • Relevance is considered to be directly proportional to positive cognitive effects  


  6. Relevance Trap • Student can become trapped in their quest for the bigger picture and miss the moment in the class or lecture room. The result of course is poor performance at the end of the course. Relevance trap • Entrapped by the obsession to establish revelance “why are we doing this?”…and lose sight of course in the process, which develops into passivity and apathy “I didn’t attend lectures regularly because of I didn’t see the point in it”; “I never understood even when I pay attention” more excuses “I am not first language English speaker, so it was difficult to understand”

  7. Articulation • Articlulation of relevance in IP - through the agency of the IP lecturers • Articluate relevance in the methodogy - in learning outcome, teaching activties etc provide the students with opportuntities to discuss, what the relvance of the course to their degree and to each topic covered, why they are worth learning, how it operates in the real world –clincal setting, why it makes sense, and how it connects to things the student already knows.

  8. Realisation This led to realisation – the momemts of realisations: • “It feels like I had never done this course before” • “I feel like I doing the course for the first time, it is easy to understand because it makes sense.”. • “I never pay attention because I thought it was english” • “I can’t believe it, I am actually enjoying the course, because now I see the connection.” where the time taken for processing was longer – there was positive cognitive effect The increased interest results in improved performance Students marks – 70s, 80s, and 90s.

  9. Standardisation Relevance Trap Avoidance • Students are at risk of a second entrapment when returned • If students are used to be shown the connections • Students must be taught in the articulation phase to draw the links on always – leading to standardisation • Partnership between lecturers and students to always draw the links • Promote interest to achieve performance

  10. Thank you!

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