Article

The impact of a university teaching development programme on student approaches to studying and learning experience: evidence from Chile

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Abstract

In this paper, we analyse the impact of teacher participation in a University Teaching Diploma on student approaches to studying and learning experience. A quasi-experimental and multilevel design was employed. University teachers answered the Approaches to Teaching Inventory and students completed the Course Experience Questionnaire and the Study Process Questionnaire. In addition, contextual variables were included for both teachers and students. The total sample included 44 teachers and 686 students. Of these, 25 university teachers had completed the University Teaching Diploma and 19 had not; 373 students were in courses with a diploma teacher and 313 in courses were not. Results show that those university teachers who have completed the programme have, in their courses, students who were more likely to declare having adopted a deep approach to studying than those teachers who have not participated in the diploma. At the same time, no significant impact was found on the student learning experience. For practical purposes, this investigation provides evidence for the value of teaching development programmes in promoting deeper approaches to studying. For research purposes, it proposes the use of multilevel models to evaluate the impact of university teaching diplomas.

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Conference Paper
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Part 1: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 1.Introduction 2.Ways if Understanding Teaching 3.What Students Learn 4.Approaches to Learning 5.Learning form the Student's Perspective 6.The Nature of Good Teaching in Higher Education 7.Theories of Teaching in Higher Education Part 2: Design for Learning 8.The Goals and Structure of a Course 9.Tecahing Strategies for Effective Learning 10.Assessing for Understanding Part 3: Evaluating and Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning 11.Evaluating the Quality of Higher Education 12.What Does it Take to Improve Teaching?
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Background. In separate studies and research from different perspectives, five factors are found to be among those related to higher quality outcomes of student learning (academic achievement). Those factors are higher self-efficacy, deeper approaches to learning, higher quality teaching, students’ perceptions that their workload is appropriate, and greater learning motivation. University learning improvement strategies have been built on these research results. Aim. To investigate how students’ evoked prior experience, perceptions of their learning environment, and their approaches to learning collectively contribute to academic achievement. This is the first study to investigate motivation and self-efficacy in the same educational context as conceptions of learning, approaches to learning and perceptions of the learning environment. Sample. Undergraduate students (773) from the full range of disciplines were part of a group of over 2,300 students who volunteered to complete a survey of their learning experience. On completing their degrees 6 and 18 months later, their academic achievement was matched with their learning experience survey data. Method. A 77-item questionnaire was used to gather students’ self-report of their evoked prior experience (self-efficacy, learning motivation, and conceptions of learning), perceptions of learning context (teaching quality and appropriate workload), and approaches to learning (deep and surface). Academic achievement was measured using the English honours degree classification system. Analyses were conducted using correlational and multi-variable (structural equation modelling) methods. Results. The results from the correlation methods confirmed those found in numerous earlier studies. The results from the multi-variable analyses indicated that surface approach to learning was the strongest predictor of academic achievement, with self-efficacy and motivation also found to be directly related. In contrast to the correlation results, a deep approach to learning was not related to academic achievement, and teaching quality and conceptions of learning were only indirectly related to achievement. Conclusions. Research aimed at understanding how students experience their learning environment and how that experience relates to the quality of their learning needs to be conducted using a wider range of variables and more sophisticated analytical methods. In this study of one context, some of the relations found in earlier bivariate studies, and on which learning intervention strategies have been built, are not confirmed when more holistic teaching–learning contexts are analysed using multi-variable methods.
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This review provides an introduction to the role of statistical modelling of complex social situations, in particular considering the application of advanced methodologies to an educational context. By building an overview of techniques such as cross classified multi-level modelling and multiple membership structures and through a comprehensive review of the application of these techniques the review should inform advances in educational research. The application of these advanced statistical techniques which allow for hierarchically structured data will assist the Department in accurately identifying the individual and independent effects of various factors on attainment and in particular the simultaneous effects of area of residence effects and school effects in educational production functions. Explanatory models using standard multiple regression The aim of many statistical models is to try and account for the variation in some response variable by a set of one or more explanatory variables or effects. The most basic of these is the familiar multiple regression model. Explanatory variables are introduced both in their own right, since there is substantive interest in them, but also as control variables. The latter often adjust for indirect effects so that one can look at the individual and independent effects of variables of interest. Thus, for example, in studies of educational outcomes of children one might be interested in the predictive influence of prior measures of ability. For the reasons stated, also included in a regression model might be other individual characteristics such as gender or measures of social circumstances. The use of such regression models, assumptions required and limitations in many contexts are widely reported in the literature.
Article
Evidence regarding the impact of teachers' instructional development on student learning in higher education is scarce. In this study, we investigate the impact of an instructional development program for beginning university teachers on students’ learning outcomes. We also explore whether this impact is dependent on class size and student level. Quantitative data were gathered from more than 1000 students at pre- and post-tests, using a quasi-experimental design. A multi-level analysis was conducted in which five models were estimated. The results show limited effects of teachers’ instructional development. Several interpretations and perspectives for further research are discussed.
Article
Although instructional development for teachers has become an important topic in higher education, little is known about its actual impact. In particular, evidence regarding the impact of teachers' instructional development on students' perceptions of the teaching-learning environment is scarce. The impact of an instructional development programme for beginning university teachers on students' perceptions of the teaching and learning environment was investigated. We also explored whether this impact is dependent on class size and student level (first years vs. non-first years). Quantitative data were gathered from more than 1,000 students at pre- and post-tests, using a quasi-experimental design. A multi-level analysis was conducted in which five models were estimated. A basic model made clear that teachers did differ from each other with respect to the dependent variables concerned; however, differences in scale scores also resulted to a large extent from differences between students. A second model, in which the moderating impact by way of teacher characteristics, context, and student characteristics was not taken into account, reported no significant effect of training. A third model, examining the net impact of instructional development revealed some impact, which was, remarkably, negative. A first interaction model proved a differential impact of instructional development for teachers teaching first years and those teaching non-first years. A second one showed that the impact of training depended on the number of students one teaches. Instructional development for teachers in higher education does not easily result in effects on students' perceptions of the teaching and learning environment. Perspectives for further research into instructional development are discussed.
Article
Incl. bibl., index
Article
Recent research on student learning in higher education has identified clear associations between variations in students' perceptions of their academic environment and variations in their study behaviour. This research investigated a general theoretical model linking students' demographic characteristics, perceptions and study behaviour with measures of outcome and in particular compared four accounts of the casual relationship between perceptions and study behaviour. Study 1 employed data from 1,123 students taking six courses by distance learning; Study 2 employed data from 2,049 students taking seven courses by distance learning. Path analysis was used to assess the causal relationships among the students' age, gender and prior qualifications, their scores on the Course Experience Questionnaire, their scores on a short version of the Approaches to Studying Inventory or the Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory, their overall marks and their ratings of general satisfaction. Both studies yielded evidence for the causal efficacy of all the paths identified in the general theoretical model. There exists a bi-directional causal relationship between variations in students' perceptions of their academic environment and variations in their study behaviour.
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