Listeners to Gardeners' Question Time, music students in a masterclass and students in tutorials may not be the focus of attention, but they learn from watching others interact with experts. Richard Cox of Sussex university is leading a TLRP project on how this vicarious learning works.
His team is concentrating on speech and language therapists in training, using a web-based multimedia database called PATSy that provides virtual patients for students and clinicians.
"We start by closely observing students' diagnostic processes and where they get stuck," says Dr Cox. "We're looking to see where the most common strengths and weaknesses are, so we can target issues for developing virtual learning resources."
They then produce video clips of students discussing difficult topics with other students or tutors. These clips will be integrated into the PATSy system, so future students can call them up when they have problems.