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Issues in Educational Research, 2021, Vol 31(4), 1330-1350.
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Block teaching and active learning improves academic outcomes for disadvantaged undergraduate groups

Maxwell Winchester
Victoria University, Australia, and Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Rudi Klein and Puspha Sinnayah
Victoria University, Australia

In 2018, Victoria University adopted a new teaching delivery model, now known as the Block Teaching Model (BTM). The aim of this study focuses on how this new approach to teaching has impacted student learning and academic success, in particular for students who come from a disadvantaged background, compared with those who come from a non-disadvantaged background. In this study, disadvantage is defined by the following categories: non-English speaking background (NESB), first in family to attend university (FIF), low socio-economic status (SES), low Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and gender (male students). Results indicate that when compared to non-disadvantaged students, the newly established BTM has achieved a significantly higher reduction in student failure rates across ATAR, SES, and NESB versus ESB and gender, while the reduction in fail rates for FIF was not reduced significantly more than NFIF. This work encapsulates the University's central vision, "The VU Way", which focuses on opportunity and success, and being transformational within the community in which it operates. More generally, this research lends support to the importance of active and intensive learning models in reducing disadvantage in tertiary education.
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Authors: Associate Professor Maxwell Winchester is an academic within the First Year College at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia and an Extern Lektor at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and consults to the airline industry internationally. He has previously held the role of the Head of Scholarship & Professional Learning at Victoria University. Maxwell teaches postgraduate level units in consumer behaviour, marketing communications and undergraduate Introduction to Marketing.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5458-517X
Email: maxwell.winchester@vu.edu.au

Dr Rudi Klein is an academic with the First Year College, and a researcher with the Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University. He has extensive STEM teaching experience at the tertiary level. His research interests include student engagement from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as technology assisted learning in anatomy.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6522-5954
Email: rudi.klein@vu.edu.au

Associate Professor Puspha Sinnayah is a teaching and research focused academic and Deputy Head of Curriculum with the First Year College and research fellow with the Institute for Health and Sport (IHES) at Victoria University (VU). She has extensive experience in curriculum design and innovation in blended and active learning strategies in physiology teaching. She has a track record in neuroscience of appetite research and is highly cited in this field.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9811-7236
Email: puspha.sinnayah@vu.edu.au

Please cite as: Winchester, M., Klein, R. & Sinnayah, P. (2021). Block teaching and active learning improves academic outcomes for disadvantaged undergraduate groups. Issues in Educational Research, 31(4), 1330-1350. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/winchester.pdf

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Created 15 December 2021. Last correction: 15 December 2021. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]