Latice 2013 – student perceptions versus student outcomes; new models for education research?

Chien-Hung Lai, a graduate student, presented his work for integrating learning support systems on Facebook. The idea here is that students are more likely to talk to their friends about issues than they are the teachers or tutors for their courses, and so we should move some of or learning environments to the social spaces that students use – in this case moving some Java programming practice apps over to Facebook so that they can access their social networks easily.

Something that has struck me recently is how I am seeing the same themes and issues arising in research on technology-related learning and more traditional learning environments. For example, in this paper we are exploring how we can embed learning into social spaces – this is very similar, in some aspects, to exploring PASS peer assisted learning systems. Essentially the goal is to build upon peer relationships to assist students in building skill and confidence in their learning.

What James was looking at earlier, where we are looking to see what students find useful about the use of mobile technology in learning, is very similar to how the issues we have explored in studio-based learning. Building upon what we know about memory, and the need for application for deep learning, to construct application opportunities within learning spaces.

Perhaps what is different in what I am seeing in the technology area is the student-centred focus: we seem to be asking the questions in different ways. We are perhaps more interested in how students perceive their learning opportunities, what they think is having an impact upon their learning, and we are paying more attention to the level of student engagement in these activities. This makes sense to me – with mobile technologies, and the blending of social and learning spaces, it is more up to the student as to when and if they will engage, and so student perceptions of utility become an important driver in the learning activity.

Perhaps on the downside, I am seeing less work that is looking at student learning outcomes, and learning objectives. Both of these need to be addressed, and perhaps it is about finding a balance…


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