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  1. Instructional conceptions Their nature and impact Jan Elen, Rebecca Léonard, Geraldine Clarebout & Joost Lowyck CIP&T, K.U.Leuven TECFA, Université de Genève 12-02-04

  2. Introduction Instructional conceptions: definition (general and specific) ideas of students about (aspects and / or components of) learning environments Prototypical example : Salomon (1984) television is “easy”; print is “tough”

  3. Introduction • Related constructs / approaches • “cognitional knowledge for classroom teaching and learning” (Peterson, 1988) • “beliefs about pedagogy” (Van Etten, Van Etten, & Pressley, 1997) • “attitude toward educational use of the Internet” (Ness, Duggan, Morgan, Kim & Wilson, 1999) • “beliefs about how teaching should take place” (Kember, 2001) • “preference; what students hope for” (Sander, Stevenson, Kind & Coates, 2000)

  4. Structure • Why? • Theoretical framework • Nature of instructional conceptions • BooiZ-study : methodological essentials • Discussion and conclusions

  5. instructional optimism / the ‘negative’ answer learner optimism / the ‘positive’ answer Why study instructional conceptions ? Instructional devices not (adequately) used Growing importance in ID of process variables Kabisa 2004 Martens et al. Learners become co-designers (open learning environments; CSCL, learning communities)

  6. Other moderating variables Feedback loops Other contextual elements Theoretical framework (simplified) Instructional conceptions Learning Activities/ Processes Perceptions Learning Environment

  7. The nature of instructional conceptions • Particular category of (metacognitive) knowledge(Elen, Proost, & Lowyck, 1996) • declarative (elements, demands, affordances)/ procedural (function attribution, use) • Mediates perceptions(e.g., Trigwell & Prosser, 1999) • Moderates impact of instructional environment (e.g., Elen, 1995)

  8. The nature of instructional conceptions • Different objects • general (‘high quality instruction’) • goals • role of students / instructional agents • specific • tools / approaches (characteristics, functions) • features (tools / approaches) • [not included : task]

  9. BooiZ-study: methodological essentials • Questionnaire • 2 parts • instructional conceptions (3 educational goals [descriptions of LE], 41 features) • perceptions / activities • N= 2132 / 8 departments (1st, 3rd (5th) year) • Construction task • students are asked to design a course • 6 categories / 52 instances • N = 41 / 8 departments(1st, 3rd (5th) year)

  10. Substance: some findings • Van Etten et al. (1997) • ‘crucial role that instructors play in the educational process’ • Kember (2001) • distinction between didactic/reproductive and facilitative/transformative view • Stebler & Reusser (1996) • clear ideas about benefits of small-group collaborative work

  11. Substance: own studies • Essay-type (Elen & Lowyck, 2000a) [qualitative study, 244 freshmen] • ‘good education’ when instructional agent considers needs of students and directs them • distinction between learning and studying • specific ideas about quality features specific instructional elements • University – college study (Elen et al., 1999; Clarebout, et al., 2000) [quantitative (n= 414); sophomores; 2 universities, 2 colleges, 9 programs] • 2 scales : encompassing support (9 items; alpha = .75) >encouraging independent work (2 items, alpha = .67)

  12. Substance: own studies • Efficiency – effectiveness study (Elen & Lowyck, 1998; Elen & Lowyck, 2000b) [quantitative n= 489 / university] • 2 scales : contribute to reduction of study time / contribute to study results • different results on both scales for specific interventions • highest scores for traditional interventions (lectures, practical sessions, exercises) lowest for ‘new type of interventions (looking up on the Internet, going to the library)

  13. Substance: BooiZ • Factor analysis on 41 items • Two-factor solution (41,32% explained variance) • Two scales: • ‘a learning environment with safe challenges’-scale 40 items, loadings > .40;  = .96 • ‘the students memorize a lot of information’ 1 item, loading = .56

  14. Substance: BooiZ • Second factor analysis on 40 items • Six-factor solution (53,62% explained variance) + oblique rotation • Six scales: (factor loadings > .40) • ‘a student-centred LO’-scale (9 items,  = .87) • ‘a challenged LO’-scale (5 items,  = .76) • ‘an individualized LE’-scale (2 items,  = .73) • ‘an active contribution LE’-scale (2 items,  = .73) • ‘an exercise’-item (1 item, factor loading = .71) • ‘a teacher-centred LO’-scale (6 items,  = .80) => 25 items; 15 items removed • intercorrelation .36 - .70

  15. Substance: BooiZ • questionnaire

  16. SCLE Challen-ging LE Differen-tiation Active contri-bution Exerci-sing LCLE SCLE 1,00 - - - - - challenging LE 0,64 1,00 - - - - Differentia-tion 0,66 0,51 1,00 - - - Active contribution 0,58 0,48 0,46 1,00 - - exercising 0,51 0,43 0,43 0,36 1,00 - LCLE 0,70 0,60 0,58 0,45 0,42 1,00 Substance: BooiZ • Pearson correlations between the six scales

  17. r1, r5, gen1, gen3, gen5, ger1, ger5, p1, p3, p3, p5, go1 G k3, go1 r1,r3, r3, ger1, ger3, ger3, ger3, ger5,b1, b3, b5,w3,gen1, gen5, k1, k1, k3, p1 w1, b5 D E F r5, b3 r1 w1, w3, go3, p5 A B C - support - student-characteristics - student-activities 1 2 3 - content - method 4 - evaluation 5 Substance: BooiZ • Construction task

  18. Relationship with other (process) variables: some findings • Kember (2001) • beliefs about teaching closely linked to beliefs about the nature of knowledge and conceptions of learning

  19. Relationship with other (process) variables: own studies • Parents study (Clarebout, Elen, & Goolaerts, 2003) [quantitative; 536 parents; questionnaire 50 items] • Instructional conceptions and epistemological beliefs in same scales (modern vs. classical beliefs) • University - college study • Instructional conceptions - perceived goal orientation • ‘encompassing support’ less important when goal relates to acquisition of meaningful / applicable knowledge • 15% of variance in encompassing support-scale explained by learning style scales

  20. Relationship with other process variables: BooiZ • Questionnaire • sign. influence of study behavior on memorizing (small ES) • Sign. influence of goal orientation on memorizing (big ES)

  21. Development: Some findings • Kember (2001): beliefs do change over time • “… it does appear necessary to confront students with the incompatibility of their current beliefs. They cannot come to appreciate a facilitative/transformative model of the teaching and learning process unless exposed to teaching based upon these premises.” (p. 218) • Stebler & Reusser (1996) : • clear agreements among students and teachers of the same class (benefits of small-group collaborative work)

  22. Development : own studies • Short-term • ParlEuNet-project (Elen & Clarebout, 2001) [quantitative, 139 students (aged 15-17)] • after participation : less favorable towards collaboration and use of technology • Long-term • University - college study • Encompassing support regarded to be less important by university students • differences between institutions • Engineering < communication-education, economics < biomedical for encompassing support

  23. Development: BooiZ • Questionnaire • sign. influence of department on ALL scales (small to big ES) • sign. influence of study year on : safe challenges LE, memorizing, SCLE en activity (small ES) • Construction task • Indications of development

  24. Impact : Some findings • Hess et al. (1999) • behavioral correlates for attitudes towards Internet e.g., favorable attitude associated (no causal relationship !) with • choosing classes that use the Internet, • greater frequency of Internet use both in general and for educational purposes, • greater number of reasons for using the Internet for education, • greater number of Internet features used

  25. Impact : Some findings • Kember (2001) • “It was found that the attitudes to and ability to cope with study were influenced by a coherent set of beliefs about knowledge and the process of teaching and learning”

  26. Impact : BooiZ • Questionnaire • sign. influence of instructional conceptions on perceptions (small ES)

  27. Discussion and conclusions • Lack of consistent and generally agreed upon theoretical framework • No research agenda : ad hoc research; highly descriptive • Lack of clear definition (distinction between: instructional conceptions, instructional beliefs, instructional perceptions) • Mixture of research instruments

  28. Some forthcoming studies • Unified theoretical framework • Unified instrument • Systematic studies on impact

  29. Some forthcoming studies • Impact on use of adjuncts aids (South-Africa) [with F. Louw] • Moderating role of instructional conceptions on effects of PLE versus traditional LE (Ghana) [with F.K. Sarfo] • Impact on tool use in LE for complex learning, interaction with pedagogical agent (Belgium)