If Graham Gibbs is right that class contact hours are less important than independent study hours (“Watched clocks and scholarly toil”, Teaching intelligence, 14 March), then higher education pedagogy becomes a matter of proactively keeping students motivated to learn. This will require new skills, based perhaps on the findings of psychologists such as Carol Dweck or Martin Seligman.
Such a shift would not be easy, but no teacher can ever be certain that their teaching will cause a learner to learn. It may be time to invest research not into new teaching methods, but into what most effectively keeps students wanting to learn.
Centre for Distance Education
University of London International Programmes