Developing critical understanding in HRM students: using innovative teaching methods to encourage deep approaches to study

Michael J.R. Butler, Peter Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – This paper aims to focus on developing critical understanding in human resource management (HRM) students in Aston Business School, UK. The paper reveals that innovative teaching methods encourage deep approaches to study, an indicator of students reaching their own understanding of material and ideas. This improves student employability and satisfies employer need. Design/methodology/approach – Student response to two second year business modules, matched for high student approval rating, was collected through focus group discussion. One module was taught using EBL and the story method, whilst the other used traditional teaching methods. Transcripts were analysed and compared using the structure of the ASSIST measure. Findings – Critical understanding and transformative learning can be developed through the innovative teaching methods of enquiry-based learning (EBL) and the story method. Research limitations/implications – The limitation is that this is a single case study comparing and contrasting two business modules. The implication is that the study should be replicated and developed in different learning settings, so that there are multiple data sets to confirm the research finding. Practical implications – Future curriculum development, especially in terms of HE, still needs to encourage students and lecturers to understand more about the nature of knowledge and how to learn. The application of EBL and the story method is described in a module case study – “Strategy for Future Leaders”. Originality/value – This is a systematic and comparative study to improve understanding of how students and lecturers learn and of the context in which the learning takes place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-789
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Training and Development
Issue number8-9
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

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  • higher education
  • human resource management
  • students
  • teaching
  • United Kingdom


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