Pedagogical design in built environment distance education: a critical appraisal of students' learning strategies at postgraduate level

Guo, Shuting (2012) Pedagogical design in built environment distance education: a critical appraisal of students' learning strategies at postgraduate level. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Because of changing patterns of demand and advances in supporting technologies, distance education is a growing market in the higher education sector. Assuring and maintaining its quality is an important issue for those who deliver it. This requires the development of pedagogical design. The knowledge of how student learn is the basis to develop the theories of teaching. However, distance students' learning activities are invisible to the instructors and researchers, particularly those based in a comprehensive learning environment, such as a University. This has caused difficulties in improving pedagogy in distance education. This study aims to contribute new knowledge to deal with this dilemma: it is limited in scope to postgraduate level and the selected educational field is Built Environment studies. To do this requires a deep understanding of what distance education is, what main theories of pedagogy have been developed and applied, and how students learn within a distance learning environment in the selected field. By answering these questions, the key issues of understanding the distance learning experience can be identified, explored and tested.

To achieve these objectives, a mixed methods strategy has been designed. The key elements of the distance learning experience are considered, starting with an instrumental case study and continuing with a questionnaire survey. The case study provided in-depth knowledge on how students learn in the distance learning environment. Based on the case study, it was proposed that metacognition is the key to distance learning success, and an understanding of how students use learning strategy is the way to obtain the required knowledge for pedagogical development in this particular educational field. The outcomes of the case study produced a model of the distance learning experience and further research focused on the issue of learning strategies. A questionnaire survey produced 151 valid responses. The findings include both qualitative and quantitative data in regard to what and how learning strategies were developed by the participants. Through cluster analysis of learning strategies, evaluation of the correlations of relevant learning experience, comparing the means of the main factors, and comprehensive analysis, the outcomes of this thesis provide new knowledge of learning strategies for distance education. In addition, based on the discussions around the purpose and effectiveness of learning strategy, student demands for relevant knowledge and the influences of multiple factors, this thesis argues that developed metacognitive capability can, in fact, be a positive advantage of distance learners over their conventional counterparts, provoking a change in perspective on distance learning and recommendations for pedagogical change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: distance education, learning effectiveness, metacognition, pedagogy, student experience
Subjects: K100 Architecture
K200 Building
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 24 May 2012 14:49
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 23:18

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