Many students adopt ineffective approaches to learning at university. This is despite the introduction of student-centred online approaches intended to improve educational quality and access in higher education. These approaches require students to interpret open-ended tasks and independently self-regulate their learning. High quality task design and supportive teaching are critical to student-centred online learning, but are particularly challenging in an era when students entering higher education come from increasingly diverse backgrounds. Prominent conceptual models of university student learning have guided good teaching and design for the past 40 years, but there is a compelling need to extend theory to better account for how students learn online, particularly to address the role of self-regulation.
This project will advance a relatively new line of enquiry and add important new detail to current models of student learning by investigating how students interpret and manage online tasks and the impact on their learning outcomes. Understanding the interconnections between teachers’ designs and students’ approaches, and the impact of contextual factors is critical to understanding both why students adopt sub-optimal approaches (Ramsden, 2003). The findings will inform practical strategies for enhancing student approaches to learning through improved self-regulation that can be applied and tested in future research.
This study conceptualises the interrelations between teaching and learning processes for a specific task using an overarching framework based on Biggs’ (2001) generalised model from the student approaches to learning research tradition with the important new element of self-regulated learning (Pintrich, 2004).
The research uses an embedded, multiple case study design that allows comprehensive investigation of a particular task. Each of 12 cases will comprise a specific task within a university subject/unit. The embedded design for each case will include two units of analysis: (1) all students and teachers involved the task, and (2) selected individual students from the broader group. The mixed method approach will yield extensive data from questionnaires, data logs and student work from 200 students, and intensive data from interviews with 10 students from the wider group. Interviews with the teaching team will focus on the rationale, design and implementation of the task.
This presentation will discuss the work-in progress of the pre-pilot stage of they study with a specific focus on:
- the overall research design that draws together multiple data sources for each case;
- the multi-case design across four universities; and
- the underpinning conceptual framework.
The presentation will be of interest to those also researching student online learning, practitioners wanting to understand more about what shapes student activity, and those looking to design large-scale mixed method studies.
Biggs, J. (2001). Enhancing learning: A matter of style or approach. In R. Sternberg, & L. Zhang (Eds.), Perspectives on thinking, learning, and cognitive styles (pp. 73-102). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to teach in higher education. London: Routledge.
Pintrich, P. (2004). A conceptual framework for assessing motivation and self-regulated learning in college students. Educational Psychology Review, 16(4), 385-40.
|Affiliation||University of Wollongong|