Evaluating students’ perceptions of learning environments and ways of learning

Principal Investigator: Betsy Ng, Research Scientist, Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU)
Co-Investigators: A/P Tan Seng Chee, Deputy Director, CRADLE@NTU; Peter Looker, Head, Teaching, Learning, and Pedagogy Division (TLPD)
Research Associate: Jaime Koh, CRADLE@NTU
Funding Agency: CRADLE@NTU start-up grant
Nanyang Technological University has records of successful e-learning implementation on top of traditional in-class sessions. To achieve the best learning outcomes, these physical and virtual learning environments, and a fusion of both need to match with the students’ preferences to approaches of learning.
However, constructs for “students’ preferences to approaches of learning” remain to be poorly defined and operationalised in the literature – causing ambiguities and misunderstanding especially when taken to local-context research. Hence, arriving at objective measures for these may help justify the extensive manpower and financial investments devoted in the construction of online and offline pedagogical environments.
A study led by the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU), in partnership with the Teaching, Learning, and Pedagogy Division (TLPD), attempts to develop a research instrument to understand students’ perceptions of learning environments. The product is guided by Australian Educational Psychologist John Biggs’ 3Ps model, and is intended to contribute to educational and evaluation research through comparisons with international trends and similar studies conducted worldwide.
The 3Ps stand for Presage, Process, and Product, which cover what happens before, during, and after learning. Presage refers to the attributes, skills, and personality traits a person has prior the learning experience, while Process refers to how students approach their learning, whether in-depth or superficial. Product refers to how much and how well students have learned, and this could be measured either in quantified outcomes or institutional evaluations.
The project would examine the relationships among 3Ps in three learning environments: courses taught in physical learning spaces (face-to-face), courses taught in online learning spaces (online) and courses taught in physical and online learning spaces (blended).
The research would involve adapting items from previously validated instruments to establish the 3Ps Questionnaire that would be pilot tested, revised, and administered online to students from NTU and National Institute of Education (NIE). Statistical analysis would be used to test the reliability and validity of the instrument.
Findings of this project would yield evidence for the relationships between students’ perceptions of the academic environment and their studying behaviours.