In the SportBU’s new studios, the students worked in small groups to choose and rank survival items they would need if ‘lost at sea’, shipwrecked and stranded on a lifeboat. Students needed to use individual decision making and problem solving skills, and then they had to compare their own rankings against the group. The goal was to help students understand and improve dealing with day-to-day issues, and to demonstrate that people can achieve much more when they solve problems and make decisions collaboratively. The intention was to also draw reference to working inside a media agency, whereby tackling client briefs, the outcomes are improved by working as a team.
“The intention behind these sessions is to encourage students to consider and refine how they approach problem solving and decision making in a group; there is a lot of group work within the course and clearly this is a critical skill they need when they enter their placement year in industry,” said Programme Leader Jill Nash. “I also wanted students to consider how ‘groupthink’ can affect decision making, whereby a group places mutual harmony above the desire to reach the right solution. Stepping outside the normal classroom environment, and making the use of the fantastic studios we have here on campus, felt like the right way to go about this.”
She later added, “Skillset is a new unit for our students, and somewhat experimental, but we did identify that first years needed certain hard and soft skills developing, which could help them tackle their academic assignments as well as creative briefs and campaign ideas. The students were really involved and engaged in this style of learning, and we felt it was important to demonstrate that learning doesn’t just take place at a desk or in front of a screen.”
After everyone finished the exercise, the student teams were invited to evaluate and reflect the process to draw out their experiences. For example, the main differences between individual, team and official rankings were, and why. This provoked discussion about how teams arrived at decisions, which will help students think about the skills they must use in future team scenarios, such as listening, negotiating and decision-making skills, as well as creativity skills for “original thinking.”