Successful ECP Intervention development in Business Education – by Dylan Cromhout

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Presentation details

Presenter: Dylan Cromhout

Institution: Cape Peninsula University of Technology


Conference: presented at the 2014 HELTASA conference in Bloemfontein

Notes: This is a summarised version of the presentation.


Mr. Dylan Cromhout

Successful ECP intervention development in business education through action research and systematic reflection: a case example.

This paper serves as a practical example of how a first year Marketing 1 ECP lecturer applied action research and systematic reflection to his teaching practice in order to overcome a range of problems that impact student learning. On the one hand, it considers how the lecturer followed the action research cycle multiple times in order to overcome poor performance and help facilitate the success of his students.  On the other hand it showcases a range of teaching interventions that were designed and implemented after careful observation of assessment results and systematic reflection of teaching and learning practice.

Much has been said about encouraging experiential learning and reflection amongst students in higher education (Kolb & Kolb, 2005). However, it is also important for educators themselves to apply such an approach to their own teaching practice and learning growth (Schon, 1983). There is a growing recognition that educators need to apply a strategic approach to what they do and how think about their work if they want to improve their teaching, and consequently, the performance of their students (Gimenez, 1999).

Considering the context that South African lecturers find themselves in today, this form of systematic and strategic practice is becoming more important. In addition to the student demographic changing because of a new democratic state and the ongoing failure of primary and secondary education to effectively prepare students for university, social culture also continues to evolve, and increasingly so, with the growth of technology and the Internet. The teaching context has changed dramatically and in considering these stark realities many lecturers are asking the question: “how can we overcome so many diverse and complex challenges and ensure concrete learning and ultimate student success and throughput?”

In order to adjust effectively to these changing realities, systematic reflection and action research can help a lecturer’s understanding of how learning takes place, while also help them guide their own development as successful educators in South Africa in the 21st century.

This paper provides evidence of how systematic reflection formed the foundation of relevant action research which led to the development of effective teaching and learning interventions and ultimately culminated in greater student learning and success. It was found that systematic reflection did in fact serve as “the core of action research in an educational setting” (Smith: 2010) and ultimately assisted the lecturer in becoming, what Odeh (2003) calls, an “adaptive teacher” that is responsive to changes in the surrounding environments, the emergence of new tools and techniques, and the special needs and diversity of students.

Keywords: Systematic Reflection, Action Research, Intervention Development, Teaching and Learning, Student Performance.


Gimenez, T. 1999. Reflective teaching and teacher education contributions from teacher training. Linguagem & Ensino, 2(2):129-143.

Kolb, A.Y. and Kolb, D.A. 2005. Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(2):193-212.

Odeh, M. 2003. A Reflective Approach to Improve Learning and Teaching of Software Engineering in Large Groups. The International Arab Journal of Information Technology, 1(0):11-17, July.

Schon, D. 1983. The Reflective Practitioner. New York: Basic Books.

Smith, K. H. 2010.The inviting professional educator: A reflective practitioner and action researcher. Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice, 16:5-9.


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