Using Constructivist Learning Environment to Cater for Learning Diversity and Promote Approaches to Learning in a General Elective Subject

Wincy Wing Sze LEE
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
wincylee@hku.hk

Abstract

Much research has been done to examine the use of constructivist learning environment to foster students' approach to learning, however results were mixed due to various contextual and students' factors (Baeten, Kyndt, Struyven & Dochy, 2010). Among these factors, difficulty level of subject matter, students' prior knowledge and motivation are some key influencing factors. The present study used constructivist learning environment (Loyens & Gijbels, 2008) in a general elective subject at associate degree level to cater for learning diversity and foster deep learning. A group of associate degree students in Hong Kong enrolled in the general elective course, Social Psychology, which required no pre-requisite, and such led to a highly diverse background among students. Forty-nine students (16 males and 33 females, age ranged between 19 to 22) in the course completed Study Process Questionnaire (SPQ; Biggs, Kember & Leung, 2001) at both the beginning (Time 1) and at the end of the semester (Time 2) and their assessment performances were obtained for analysis. Correlation analysis showed that Deep Strategy of Time 1 and Time 2 correlated positively with coursework and examination performance respectively. Repeated measures MANOVA showed that significant change can only be found in Surface Approach. Furthermore, regression analysis showed that increase of Surface Approach across time predicted coursework performance but not examination performance in the group of high achievers. The intervention was effective in fostering learning, implication on the design of learning environment and assessment tasks for catering learning diversity in Chinese cultural context will be discussed.

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