An exploration into first-year university students' approaches to inquiry and online learning technologies in blended environments

Robert A. Ellis, Ana Maria Bliuc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The use of online learning technologies in experiences of inquiry is increasingly ubiquitous in university contexts. In blended environments, research into university experiences suggests that student approaches to learning are a key determiner of the quality of outcomes. The purpose of this study was to develop relevant measures which help understand the interplay between student approaches to inquiry (SAI) and their approaches to using online learning technologies (SAOLT) in blended environments. Based on a first-year university sample (n = 238), two questionnaires exploring qualitative variations in the SAI and SAOLT were developed. Each questionnaire had two subscales, that is, deep and surface approaches, and their construction was informed by existing research identifying qualitatively different approaches to inquiry and learning technologies. Our results indicate that the two questionnaires show satisfactory validity and reliability in measuring SAI and SAOLT. Furthermore, our findings show that deep approaches to inquiry were positively and logically related to deep approaches to online learning technologies (while surface approaches to inquiry were related to surface approaches to online learning technologies), and participants cluster in distinct groups according to their qualitatively different approaches to inquiry and online technologies. These outcomes have tangible implications for teaching and design, in particular for teachers aiming to support students to develop effective learning strategies when engaging in blended environments where students need to integrate their experiences and ideas across face-to-face and online contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-980
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Volume47
Issue number5
Early online date13 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

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