Learning Skills Unit - Learning Lab

Structuring assignments

Was the approach to assignments different in Australia compared to your country?

Click on the students below to find out their answers.

Linear style

Explicit Direct Deductive

Introduction

 Introduce the Main Idea

  • Key point 1 (develop & elaborate)
  • Key point 2 (develop & elaborate)
  • Key point 3 (develop & elaborate)
  • Key point 4 (develop & elaborate)
  • Conclusion

No irrelevant information

Limited contextual information

In Australian universities the usual focus is on introducing the main point at the beginning of an assignment task. Many other cultures prefer a logical structure that requires in-depth elaboration and context before arriving at the main point.

Assignments in Australian universities, for example, essays, reports or oral presentations require a more linear structure. This means the main ideas are introduced at the beginning, and are followed by a point by point elaboration of the key points leading to a conclusion at the end.

Different structures for organizing information in an assignment

There are two common structures for organizing ideas. These are based on different logical structures and vary according to cultural and linguistic backgrounds. These two different ways of structuring writing and presentations can be represented by two approaches to a walk in the garden.

Photo of a flower

Here's the flower. These are the main points.

Model 1: Direct linear approach

Model 1 is a simple representation of the approach to organizing information in the Australian educational context. In Model 1 the student is expected to present the main point first, followed by explanation and analysis.

Photo of a path winding through a garden

Here's the garden. Let me take you for a walk and I'll show you something.

Model 2: Explanation before getting to the main point

Model 2 is another representation of what is common in many other cultures. In this model the student builds a case through background information, explanation and analysis and finally presents the main point.

Conclusion Ė How to get good marks!

Many students donít realize how important the linear structure is for achieving good marks in Australian universities. Remember it is important to:

  • Plan and structure your essay
  • Use the linear structure

More Information

Learning Lab assessment tasks

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