Characteristics of an innovative learning environment according to students’ perceptions: actual versus preferred
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An innovative learning environment is the current outcome of the constructivist approach, the essence of which is co-construction of knowledge in an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) environment. We examined how Israeli students perceived 10 characteristics of their classroom learning environment—student cohesiveness, teacher support, involvement, task orientation, investigation, cooperation, equity, differentiation, computer usage and young adult ethos. Particular foci were students’ perceptions of the actual state of their learning environment compared with the preferred state, and which characteristics predicted students’ cooperation. Participants were 1022 students in 33 classes from 12 computerised elementary and middle schools in Israel. Data were collected using the Technology-Rich Outcomes-Focused Learning Environment Inventory (TROFLEI). Results indicated a gap between the actual and the preferred states for all characteristics, although the scope of these gaps differed between elementary-schools students and middle-school students for certain characteristics. Structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis indicated that nine characteristics of the innovative environment in both actual and preferred states were related to cooperation, with these relations being primarily direct with the exception of teacher support and differentiation which had an indirect influence. Teacher support was mediated through student cohesiveness, involvement, equity and young adult ethos, whereas differentiation was mediated through investigation. Evaluation of the innovative learning environment might lead to better insights regarding the behaviours and needs of twenty-first century students in Israel’s education system. These insights could advance constructivist processes and teaching methods and bring the students to effective cooperative learning in an innovative learning environment.
KeywordsCooperation Elementary schools ICT Innovative learning environment Middle schools Technology-Rich Outcomes-Focused Learning Environment Inventory (TROFLEI)
This research was supported by The MOFET Institute and the Department of Teacher Education at the Ministry of Education.
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