Research integration in information systems education: Students' perceptions on learning strategies, skill development, and performance

Antonis Natsis*, Pantelis M. Papadopoulos, Nikolaus Obwegeser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Aim/Purpose This study aimed to explore whether students' self-reported use of various learning strategies affected their perceptions on different course activities as well as their perceived performance in terms of both cognitive learning out-comes and general skills. Background In a highly active learning environment that incorporates research into teaching, the effective use of various learning strategies is considered of high importance for the successful engagement of students. Yet, this line of research has mainly focused on individual learning. Shifting from individual to collaborative learning settings, the current study investigated whether students' use of self-regulated learning, peer learning, and help seeking strategies influenced their perceptions on both the group activities and the respective outcomes. Methodology At the beginning of the course, 81 first semester postgraduate students self-reported the level of use of self-regulated learning, peer learning, and help seek-ing strategies by filling in the respective subscales of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Then, groups of 3 or 4 students were formed and instructed to create several learning artifacts of different types and conduct a peer-tutoring session, based on a topic assigned to them by the teach-er. Additionally, the same groups conducted a research project of their own choice within course topics. Students' final grade served as an indicator of their academic performance. At the end of the semester, students filled in a ques-tionnaire eliciting their perceptions on the process and the outputs of the course activities. Finally, through statistical analysis of students' responses to the questionnaires, the influence of learning strategies on students' perceptions and their academic performance was examined. Contribution Our findings contribute to the literature regarding the research-teaching nexus in higher education settings. More specifically, the study shows how students' self-reported use of learning strategies affects students' perceptions on the ac-tivities they were engaged in, their achievement of cognitive learning outcomes, and their skills development in a research-integrated course design. Findings Students perceived differently the value of producing and studying learning arti-facts. Students who scored higher in the self-regulated learning and peer learn-ing subscales of MSLQ perceived their role as more active in the preparation of the presentation for the peer-tutoring session, which was the artifact that re-quired higher level of interaction among the group members. Students' final grades were influenced partially by their self-reported use of different learning strategies. Recommendations for Practitioners Integrating research into teaching through the assignment of research-related tasks to students can promote students' acquisition of domain knowledge and research skills. The merits of this approach can be further strengthened by hav-ing students working in groups and providing the outputs of their involvement in the research-related activities as learning material for their peers. Further-more, students' individual characteristics (e.g., use of learning strategies and preferences should be taken into account when designing course activities). Recommendations for Researchers Researchers should continue to explore the way that various learning strategies influence different aspects of the learning process, especially in the achievement of cognitive learning outcomes and the development of general skills. Impact on Society Creating learning environments that foster students' active engagement with the course material and peer collaboration should be a vital goal of higher educa-tion institutes as it can improve students' performance and promote the neces-sary skills for self-directed and autonomous learning, a key competence in the modern workplace. Future Research In this study, both cognitive learning outcomes and general skills were assessed by students' final grade. In a future study, distinguishing these different types of learning outcomes would allow us to examine in more detail the impact of stu-dents' learning strategies and course activities on the accomplishment of cogni-tive learning outcomes and general skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-363
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Information Technology Education: Research
Volume17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Academic performance
  • Learning out-comes
  • Learning strategies
  • Research-teaching nexus
  • Student perception

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