Examining Pedagogical Tools Within Flexible Learning and their Effectiveness in Developing the 21st Century Learners' Employability Skills. A multiple Case Study of Business Schools

  • Armaghan Habib

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study identifies the most suitable pedagogical tools for flexible learning and investigates their effectiveness in developing key 21st-century employability skills among undergraduate business students. Research executed in four different business schools across four different countries around the world explores the perception of both students and academics in adopting these pedagogical tools and their effectiveness in developing key employability skills suitable for 21st-century learners. The study also discusses the notion of a ‘learning culture’ and its effects on the delivery and acceptance of these pedagogical tools due to differences in their teaching and learning.
For this study, a comprehensive and systematic search of the available literature was undertaken which identified that the available literature lacks data related to pedagogical tools suitable for flexible learning. Due to limited research and the growing significance of effective pedagogical tools which could be used and adapted for different settings and groups within higher education, the need for the present study was identified and research was carried out in four different countries around the world: the UK, Germany, Pakistan, and Canada. A multiple case study method was used to collect the data from business schools in these countries. The data were collected in three stages. In the first stage, learning content from each business school was reviewed and analysed. For the second stage, an online survey via Qualtrics software was conducted among undergraduate students in each business school. In the final stage, interviews with the academics, who are teaching undergraduate students within these business schools, were conducted.
The findings from the study reveal the most effective pedagogical tools for flexible learning, as perceived by students and academics, which help them to develop 21st-century employability skills. These are lectures, class debates, group projects, case studies, internships, technology embedded tools (smartphones, iPad), multiple choice questions, essays, and term papers. The learning culture was identified by both students and academics as ‘somewhat problematic’ but vital due to flexible learning environment. The study also concluded that the curriculum plays an important role in the selection and innovation of pedagogical tools and opportunities for skill development.
Date of Award20 Sep 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMichael Snowden (Main Supervisor), Jamie Halsall (Co-Supervisor) & James Avis (Co-Supervisor)

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