Allowing Experimentation in educational settings

Tanja shows how students can experiment and stretch the borders of an assignment through freedom within bounds

You can enable subtitles by pressing the CC icon on the video

Whenever you, as a teacher, provide students with assignments, you have control over the amount of freedom. You can set the boundaries to be very strict, and give exact instructions of how the students should work, and which steps they should take. Or, you can set the boundaries to be strict and yet also stimulate them to find their own way of reaching the goal, making a product within the given boundaries.

Being bounded without freedom and having strict instructions leads to predictable results: students try to follow the instructions as well as they can, and the end results are all very similar.

Depending on the type of assignment, you could consider giving the students more room for exploration and experimenting, so they experience more freedom. This might lead to new ideas and innovation. Above all, the students have more fun in working on the assignment.

Offering students more freedom creates a feeling of ownership: they have a unique idea of their product, one that is their own, and they are not a dime a dozen. It makes teaching nicer as well, and the results may surprise you. It is more fun to work in this way.

Questions for reflection

1. How do you ensure that students can choose their own path within the framework?

2. How strict are your instructions?

3. What do you need in order to give students more freedom?

4. To what extent do you give students assignments in which they have to find something out for themselves?

5. What questions do you ask your students to let them explore a subject, and by doing so, make the assignment more interesting for them?

Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, the Netherlands


Voice over: Jeroen Loef – Honours coordinator and lecturer, School of Marketing Management

Marieke ter Braak – Honours lecturer, School of Marketing Management

Jaan Kets – Honours lecturer, School of Marketing Management

Ivonne Weidgraaf – Honours support, School of Marketing Management

Inge Hamersma – Marketing communication, School of Marketing Management

Related videos