In this book we respond to a higher education environment that is on the verge of profound changes by imagining an evolving and agile problem-based learning ecology for learning. The goal of doing so is to humanise university education by pursuing innovative approaches to student learning, teaching, curricula, assessment, and professional learning, and to employ interdisciplinary methods that go far beyond institutional walls and include student development and support, curriculum sustainability, research and the scholarship of teaching and learning, as well as administration and leadership.
An agile problem-based learning (PBL) ecology for learning deliberately blurs the boundaries between disciplines, between students and teachers, between students and employers, between employers and teachers, between academics and professional staff, between formal and informal learning, and between teaching and research. It is based on the recognition that all of these elements are interconnected and constantly evolving, rather than being discrete and static.
Throughout this book, our central argument is that there is no single person who is responsible for educating students. Rather, it is everyone’s responsibility – teachers, students, employers, administrators, and wider social networks, inside and outside of the university. Agile PBL is about making connections, rather than erecting barriers.
In summary, this book is not about maintaining comfort zones, but rather about becoming comfortable with discomfort. The actual implementation is beyond the scope of this book and we envisage that changing perceptions towards this vision will itself be a mammoth task. However, we believe that the alternative of leaving things as they are would ultimately prove untenable, and more distressingly, would leave a generation of students afraid to think, feel, and act for themselves, let alone being able to face the challenges of the 21st century.