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More than 800,000 objects are available for object-based learning at UCL

8 April 2014

Mark Copestake heard Dr Leonnie Hannan encourage attendees at the UCL Teaching and Learning Conference 2014 to use objects in research-based learning

More than 800,000 objects are available for object-based learning at UCL. Dr Leonnie Hannan offered some advice

In the experience of Dr Leonnie Hannan, Object Based Learning Teaching Fellow, UCL Museums, objects encourage an active and experiential form of learning. 

She explained that, according to learner feedback, students prefer learning through objects rather than through a traditional talk or lecture as it helps them to remember things more easily.

Leonnie invited attendees to think about how they could use objects in their teaching. The spaces available, such as the UCL Art Museum, provide an ideal backdrop for exploring objects and can promote different types of thinking/discussion. 

UCL’s Special Collections, which include manuscripts and rare books, can also be used for teaching with enough notice. Teaching staff are encouraged to approach the Museum Curators with their ideas and themes of study.

Using ‘mystery specimens’ is one method of learning recommended by Leonnie. It requires students to apply what residual information they have to try and identify what the object is. They have to make connections and this way of learning can often be more powerful.

Leonnie explained how she can run training sessions for teaching staff on object-based learning and is keen to encourage teachers of subjects not traditionally associated with object-based learning to think about how this can be integrated into their curriculum.

You can email Leonnie at

Further information

Page last modified on 08 apr 14 14:26

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