Learning Environments Research

, 11:83

Students’ experiences with contrasting learning environments: The added value of students’ perceptions

  • Katrien Struyven
  • Filip Dochy
  • Steven Janssens
  • Sarah Gielen
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10984-008-9041-8

Cite this article as:
Struyven, K., Dochy, F., Janssens, S. et al. Learning Environ Res (2008) 11: 83. doi:10.1007/s10984-008-9041-8

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of two contrasting learning environments on students’ course experiences: a lecture-based setting to a student-activating teaching environment. In addition, the evaluative treatment involved five research conditions that went together with one of four assessment modes, namely, portfolio, case-based, peer assessment, and multiple-choice testing. Data (N = 608) were collected using the Course Experience Questionnaire. Results showed that the instructional intervention (i.e. lectures versus student-activating treatment) influenced students’ course experiences, but in the opposite direction to that expected. In declining order, the following scales (5 out of 7) revealed statistically significant differences: Clear Goals and Standards; the General scale; Appropriate Workload; Good Teaching; and Independence. Moreover, when the assessment mode was considered, also the Appropriate Assessment scale demonstrated significant differences between the five research conditions. Moreover, the same teaching/learning environments led to diverse students’ perceptions. While the perceptions of lecture-taught students were focused and concordantly positive, students’ course experiences with student-activating methods were widely varied and both extremely positive and negative opinions were present. Students’ arguments in favour of the activating setting were the variety of teaching methods, the challenging and active nature of the assignments and the joys of collaborative work in teams, whereas students expressed dissatisfaction with the perceived lack of learning gains, the associated time pressure and workloads, and the (exclusive) use of collaborative assignments and related group difficulties.

Keywords

Constructivism Course Experience Questionnaire Higher education Lectures Student-activating teaching methods/active teaching Student teachers’ perceptions 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katrien Struyven
    • 1
  • Filip Dochy
    • 1
  • Steven Janssens
    • 1
  • Sarah Gielen
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Research on Teaching and TrainingKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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