A learning hub is a technology-rich learning environment with both physical and virtual components that provide formal and informal opportunities for learners to come together with peers, teachers, and other experts in their field. Here, individuals can access relevant knowledge and information, enlist support from educators and other learners, and, in so doing, develop new opportunities to improve their livelihoods. L3 – Lab for learning and life skills serves as a space for temporary or prearranged meetings and discussions with peers—perhaps to work on a project or group assignment, or to provide mentoring and support through the sharing of experiences and expertise. In short, L3is a room designed and created for students, especially the post graduate students and research scholars to sit, relax and work in a relaxed environment, with all the infra structural and technological facilities.
Significance of the hub:
Providing support for students on academic programmes is one of the key roles of a University teacher. It is not just about providing students with an engaging learning environment in which the conditions have been established for engaging students with the teacher, the content and with one another. It is about looking more specifically at what individual students might need by way of support. It is very important that you identify the learning needs of students in order to provide the right level, type and amount of support. Typical areas for support may include study skills (such as revising, planning learning, time management, using the library and online databases), academic writing, numeracy and data handling and writing in English.
As far as a postgraduate student is concerned, it is highly mandatory that, they need to do seminars, presentations and have to identify their research areas and prepare research designs for a good research work. This requires a flexible and inductive learning environment other than a classroom where one can freely discuss her/his ideas with one or two friends and can correct them. Not all students are self-motivated and confident learners; some require more time to understand a subject and may need concepts defined in new ways or to be shown another approach to learning the material.
About the activities of the L3 at Government College for Women, Tvpm:
Lab for learning and life skills is the first of its kind, among the Government Arts and Science Colleges in the State of Kerala. It was conceived and developed as a best practice by Dr.Sithara Balan V , Dept of Home Science and a FLAIR International Intern, who underwent her international internship at University of Southampton during 2013-14. Further it was developed as a project with the help of the department and College . It was funded by the Directorate of Higher Education Govt of Kerala and guided by the Office of the New Initiatives of Govt of Kerala and FLAIR Secretariate. L3 was officially inaugurated on 24, August 2015 by the then Director of Collegiate Eduction- Shri. M.Nandakumar IAS. Prof Sabu S Padmadas, Prof of Demography and Global health, University of Southampton, United Kingdom was the chief guest of the programme. The lab was designed and constructed by Habitat Group of Technologies, led by Padmashree R.Shankar.
A group of FLAIR faculty members, who were interested in the programme, sat together and framed a 25 hour module programme on “Research Skills & Practice”. As a pilot phase, students from certain selected departments were given training and the feedback was motivating. More and more students started approaching the hub and it was decided not to limit the programme to any disciplines, instead any student who is really interested in knowing more about research are given a chance.
The aim of the programme is to assist the students to have sound knowledge in research and to develop in them professional competencies needed for a researcher. Following learning objectives where thus identified:
- To familiarize the post graduate students about the research process & impart specific skills required to conduct research and life skills.
- To assist the students to gain knowledge to conduct independent research.
- To equip them for making research presentations.
A student who undertakes a programme on “Research Skills and Practice”, is expected to develop certain Key skills such as Critical thinking for research; Problem solving related to research; research & writing and communication skills, and certain life skills such as Critical thinking, Problem Solving, presentation and communication skills.
A student who attends the programme on “Research Skills & Practice” should be able to:
- Frame a research topic
- Conduct literature review
- Identify and apply appropriate research methodologies
- Construct and implement a realistic research timetable
- Deliver a presentation on a chosen research topic
- Critically reflect on data produced & to disseminate the same
- Critically reflect on the ethical considerations of their chosen research topic
3.30-4.30 pm (Week days) and on lunch hours.
All FLAIR Interns of the college, who underwent an international internship of four week duration are voluntarily acting as facilitators for the programme. The facilitating team has been restricted to international interns, only because of their specific knowledge in developing and designing courses, the nature of training programmes that they under went, their willingness, interest and initiatives in bringing innovative changes in the classroom management etc. However, any faculty who is genuinely interested for the welfare of the hub, can act as a resource person, to exchange their research ideas, share their experiences and facilitating the students to involve in the research process are free to join
Postgraduate students from third and fourth semesters are the target group of the L3. The hub provides them a flexible learning environment to sit, relax and work with peers in the preparation of seminars, presentations, research proposals, reviewing the literature, understanding the audience for scientific writing and preparation for student projects.
All postgraduate students of the college, who has a flair for research can apply to the programme offered by L3 , irrespective of their discipline. However, the selection shall be based on the following criterias:
- A proven track record of academic excellence
- Strong aspiration towards research
- Needy and deserving
- Positive approach and commitment
- Nominated by Head of the Department (one or two student from each department)
The final selection of the student will be done based on an Aptitude test and will be purely on the discretion of the L3 Facilitating team. Nomination from the concerned department does not guarantee selection to the programme.
Essential infra structure of the learning hub:
A computer, internet connectivity, comfortable working chairs, tables/ desks, quiet spaces, and screened-in areas for small work groups
Activities of 2015-16:
- Five students each from the Department of Home Science, Economics, Psychology, Commerce and Philosophy were selected through the selection process.
- They were given a 25 hour training on research skills, research review and presentation skills.
- A team of 5 faculty members from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom visited them and interacted and exchanged their ideas with the students. A talk on “Life long learning and its impact in global scenario was given by the invited faculties (March 11, 2016).
Activities of 2016-2017:
- The module developed was redesigned using the principles of ADDIE model.
- A total of 18 applications were received this year. Six students from the specializations of Chemistry, Psychology, Economics, Business Economics, Commerce and Philosophy were selected through aptitude test and interview.
- Each facilitator has been assigned a day for meeting the students and she is in charge for a particular module. Together with the students, they share, discuss and debated on the processes involved in research.
- Two Students were taken to St Teresas College , Ernakulam to attend the Interdisciplinary Research Fair,2016.
- Majority of the sessions were activity oriented and were given hands on experience on identifying a topic, reviewing the literature, scientific writing etc.
- Prof Vanessa Burholt, Director, Centre for Innovative Ageing, Swansea University, Wales came to L3 and interacted with the students about the higher education funding and scholarships for study abroad, with special mention to Marie Curie Fellowships and Fulbright scholarships, (March 4,2017).
- Simi Thomas (Chemistry) and Ms. Sreelekshmi (Home Science) cleared NET.
Activities of 2017-2018:
- No student intake was done during this academic year due to lack of funds.
- Conducted a workshop on “Designing for Social impact labs”, by a group of faculty members from University of Southampton, UK on 11th September 2017.
Activities of 2018-2019:
- 10 students were enrolled for the programme during the academic year.
- 8 students presented poster in the International Seminar on Endonutrition and Development Communication :Current drift, organized by the Dept of Home Science during Nov 2018.
- One student received Aspire fellowship (Stefy X) for doing MSc project and One Student was awarded Student scholarship from KSCSTE, (Athira Dushandhan )for student project.
- This year activities were carried out by collaborating with ICT Academy of Kerala.
- All the sessions were activity oriented and were given hands on training on using moodle platform.
- A coffee table discussion named “Meet the Scholars” was organized inviting Dr.Mini Joseph and Dr.Saji Alex two faculty members of the college, who underwent post doctoral training programmes. They shared their experience with the students and clarified their doubts on academic writing, topic selection, tips in research etc. Dr.S.Rajoo Krishnan, Former Special Officer for New Initiatives, GoK addressed the students and talked to them about Ethics in Research.
- Athira Dushandhan presented a poster on Kerala Science Congress on Feb 2019.
- Pournami S.R presented her research paper on the ICPR National Seminar organized by the Dept of Philosophy on “Refutation of Mayavadha by Ramanuja, ”, Sep 2018.
Activities of 2019-2020:
10 students were selected for the academic year and following activities were carried out.
- The activities were carried out in association with ICT Academy under the guidance of Dr Manoj A.S; Senior Knowledge Officer, ICT Academy.
- An expert talk on: We the Problems we choose: The purpose of business and the meaning of value” was organized in association with Social Impact Lab, University of Southampton, UK and Entrepreneurship Development Cell, GCW Tvpm. Dr Pathik Pathak, Associate Professor and Director of Social Impact lab, University of Southampton, UK was the resource person.
- Collaborated with the Dept of Home Science to conduct a session on “Study abroad and funding opportunities” as part of their Three day national workshop on Interdisciplinary approaches in Research for Young India, New India on 31/10/2019. Ms Winya Suzanna, Senior Manager, Higher Education, British Council, Chennai was the speaker.
- Pournami SR, cleared National Eligibility Test during June 2019.
- Pournami S.R presented her research paper on the National Seminar organized by the Dept of Philosophy on “Reputation of Mayavadha by Ramanuja”, Sep 2018.
- Pournami SR presented a paper on National Seminar Right of the other: Levinas on Human Rights, ICPR National Seminar, Dept of Philosophy, GCW on Nov 2019.
Activities of 2020-2021:
A new step was taken by the team, during the academic year 2020-2021 to invite the applications from outside colleges too. 54 responses were received, and 25 students were shortlisted for the final interview and aptitude test.
The present facilitating team:
- Sithara Balan V- Home Science
- Nimi Dev R- Commerce
- Sruti Ramachandran – English
- Indu Rajashekaran – English.
- Deepthi K.S- Industrial and Microbiology
EXPERT TALK SERIES:
Understanding the necessity of smart learning spaces and the need for introducing skill labs in the Colleges, many more colleges started replicating the concept of L3. The Academic Skill Hub of Govt College, Kottayam and the Skill Hub of All Saints College, Thiruvananthapuram are few examples.