Initial Experience of a Programme to Improve Students’ Learning Skills Using the Metacognitive Approach
conference contributionposted on 25.03.2022, 08:58 authored by Bavani Divo, Juanita Kong, Ramesh Shahdadpuri, Chee Ming Ong, Pengcheng WangPengcheng Wang, Chern Pin ChuaChern Pin Chua
Developing proficiency in learning is an important goal for all students, and should be developed and strengthened, especially at higher educational levels. Increasing student workload (Bitsika, Sharpley, & Rubenstein, 2010; Honicke, & Broadbent, 2016; Nami & Vaezi, 2018; Smith, 2019) has also presented numerous challenges in day-to-day academic life of university students (Ching, Zhang, Guan, & Cheung, 2020; Trinidad, 2020). The ‘new norms’ of learning, inevitably accelerated by the Pandemic (now Endemic), means students of today need to be better equipped in their self-directed and self-regulated learning (Cho & Shen, 2013; Doo & Bonk, 2020; Niemi, Nevgi, & Virtanen, 2003). Students are now expected to be online learning ready (Küsel, Martin, & Markic, 2020; Nami & Vaezi, 2018). On top of traditional face-to-face lessons, asynchronous learning, synchronous live learning, to even blended learning approaches, the learning approaches are more learner-centralized, enabling students to learn anytime and anywhere. Therefore, equipping students with skills set to confidently pursue their learning journey is an important goal in SIT. Based on the fundamentals of the science behind learning (Doyle & Zakrajsek, 2013; Van Hoof, Walsh, Missal, & Burkey, 2019), the Learning to Learn Better (LTLB) programme is designed to increase students’ awareness in their learning. This is carried out using the metacognitive holistic learning framework, where students are taught to plan, monitor and review their learning approaches and strategies (Kitsantas & Zimmerman, 2009; Zimmerman & Schunk, 2011).
The programme seeks to help students reflect on their learning approaches and habits using the metacognitive framework and explore strategies to better their learning experience in the university. The coaching sessions embedded within the programme aim to aid students in deriving concrete steps to put their reflection, goals set and learning plan to action (Corti & Gelati, 2020; Fried & Irwin, 2016). Through understanding SIT students’ needs, we can also determine areas to focus on and enrich, to enable the programme better prepare students to be effective learners. To date, about 90 students across various years of study and disciplines have completed LTLB. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected to provide an initial sense of the programme’s effectiveness in developing students to be better learners. Focus group discussions and module experience surveys were carried out. Pre and post surveys gauged the participants’ willingness to develop themselves, motivation levels and useful takeaways. Focus groups asked for their feedback on the programme and how it has helped them in their studies.
Students reported higher levels of motivation at the end of the programme compared to before. They also reported a high level of willingness to improve on their learning upon entry into the programme. Most students reported at least a 3/5 on a Likert scale of the level of effort (1 for least effort and 5 for most effort) they had put in to improve their learning approaches after the programme ended. They also shared that the programme helped manage their time better, encouraged active reflection and to explore learning strategies to develop themselves.
Initial student response and feedback are promising for SIT’s programme to improve students’ learning skills using the metacognitive approach. Further refinements will be made to increase its effectiveness going forward.