Variables associated with student learning resource preferences in the learning management system at a Faculty of Military Science

Khoza, Lindiwe Mhakamuni (2016-12)

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : The study was undertaken to determine variables associated with students’ learning resource preferences in the Learning Management System (LMS) of the Faculty of Military Science of Stellenbosch University. It aimed to explain why students either engage, disengage or not engage at all with institutional course content either on or off the existing LMS. The study was undertaken against the background of the challenges that the institution faces in taking informed decisions to improve its LMS to facilitate optimal engagement with its respective online courses. Few studies to date employed an integrated approach to understanding how lecturers teach online, firstly, and how students learn online, secondly. In order to gain a deeper understanding of why students either engage or not engage with course content both on and off the institutional LMS, the researcher has adopted an integrated approach to analysing data that reported on activities off the LMS as well as data automatically generated by the LMS. Qualitative data were collected through interviews and open ended questions of the questionnaire. Quantitative data were collected from logs on the LMS, closed questions of the questionnaire, and institutional class lists. Participants in this study were either first year distance education students, or second year residential and distance education students. They were either registered for a particular compulsory first-year module or a particular second-year module. All students were employees, mostly career soldiers of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Data were first analysed per data source. Both thematic content and critical discourse analysis were used in analysis of qualitative and quantitative data respectively. Findings were interpreted according to the conceptual framework for this study. The study highlighted important aspects in terms of online teaching and learning, key of which is the teaching strategy that the lecturer employed through learning resources which determined the level of engagement intended for students to achieve the expected level of understanding as stated in the learning outcomes. Another important finding highlighted is that students could identify a gap in their knowledge. Limited scaffolding conditions existed for students registered for the compulsory first-year module to achieve the stated learning outcomes. Conversely, adequate scaffolding conditions were created for students registered for the compulsory second-year module to attain the stated learning outcomes for the module. The findings revealed a complex combination of interrelated internal, external and contextual factors that should be considered in designing learning resources, because of the impact they have on students’ level of engagement with course content both in and off the LMS. The study revealed that the institution should capitalize on the best opportunities of both face-to-face and online learning to elicit the intended level of engagement with the LMS content in order to achieve the expected learning outcomes. Although the context of the findings is specific to the institution researched, the findings contribute to the general field of learning analytics through the application of an integrated analysis aimed at explaining why students either engage with course content within the Learning Management System, disengage from it, or not even start engaging at all.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie studie is onderneem om die veranderlikes wat verband hou met student se keuse van spesifieke leerhulpbronne binne die Leerbestuurstelsel (LBS) van die Fakulteit Krygskunde van Stellenbosch Universiteit te bepaal. Die studie had ten doel om vas te stel waarom studente óf aktief deelneem aan institusionele kursusinhoude beide binne en buite die bestaande LBS, óf daaraan onttrek, óf nooit begin deelneem daaraan nie. Hierdie studie is onderneem teen die agtergrond van die uitdagings waarmee die instelling gekonfronteer word in die neem van ingeligte besluite ter verbetering van sy LBS om optimale deelname aan sy onderskeie aanlynkursusse te fasiliteer. Min studies tot op hede het ‘n geintegreerde benadering gevolg om te prober vasstel hoe dosente aanlyn onderrig, enersyds, en studente aanlyn leer, andersyds. In ‘n poging om ‘n dieper begrip te bekom van waarom student óf aktief deelneem aan , óf onttrek, óf van die instelling se LBS, het die navorser ‘n geintegreerde benadering gevolg tot die analisering van data wat aktiwiteite buite die LBS rapporteer, sowel as die analisering van data outomaties deur die digitale LBS gegenereer. Kwalitatiewe data is versamel deur middel van onderhoude en oop vrealyste. Kwantitatiewe data is onttrek uit puntestate van die institusionele LBS, geslote vraelyste, en institusionele klaslyste. Deelnemers aan hierdie studie was eerstejaarstudente op die afstandsonderrig-program, sowel as tweedejaarstudente op die residensiële en afstandsonderrig-programme onderskeidelik. Hierdie student was dan of ‘n spesifieke eerstejaarsmodule, of ‘n spesifieke tweedejaarsmodule. Alle student is ook werknemers, meesal beroepsoldate van die Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Weermag (SANW). Data is aanvanklik per databron geanaliseer. Tematiese inhoudsanalise en kritiese diskoersanalise is gebruik om kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe data onderskeidelik te analiseer. Bevindinge is ooreenkomstig die konseptualiseringsraamwerk vir hierdie studie geїnterpreteer. Die studie het belangrike aspekte van aanlyn leer en onderrig uitgelug, veral dan die onderrigstrategieë wat deur dosente benut is in die aanwending van ‘n leerhulpmiddel wat die vlak van deelname bepaal wat voorveronderstel word om die gewenste kennisoordrag volgens gestelde leeruitkoms te verseker. ‘n Verdere belangrike bevinding is dat student die gaping in hul kennisvlak kon identifiseer, maar dat slegs beperkte steunomstandighede geskep is om studente die geleentheid te bied om daardie gaping te vul en die gestelde leeruitkomste te bereik. Daarteenoor was daar voldoende steunomstandighede vir studente geregistreer vir die verpligte tweedejaarsmodule om die verlangde kennisvlak en die gestelde leeruitkomste te bereik. Die bevindinge het ‘n komplekse kombinasie van tussenverwante interne, eksterne en kontekstuele faktore openbaar; faktore wat moet oorweeg word in die ontwerp van leerhulpbronne, omdat akkurate voorsiening van leerhulpbronne ‘n groot impak het op student se besluit oor deelname aan kursusinhoud beide binne en buite die bestaande LBS. Die studie het bevind dat dosente die beste eienskappe van beide persoon-tot-persoon en aanlynleer moet uitbuit om die verlangde vlak van aktiewe deelname aan LBSe te verseker sodat die verlangde leeruitkomste bereik kan word. Alhoewel die konteks van die bevindinge nou verband hou met die instelling wat in hierdie studie nagevors is, dra die bevindinge by tot die veld van leeranalitiek deur die aanwending van ‘n geintegreerde analise van waarom student óf aktief deelneem aan kursusinhoud binne of buite die Leerbestuurstelsel, óf daaraan onttrek, of glad nie eers daaraan begin deelneem nie.

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100124
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