The Learner’s learning evironment: three drivers that impact on its construction and use

2017-02-17T02:21:37Z (GMT) by Ellis, Ainslie Elizabeth
With universities adopting a learner-centered, constructivist approach to learning and greater use of technology, combined with the pressures of 21st century living and the increasing number of people taking up tertiary study, there is a greater need than ever to determine how a learner constructs and uses his/her learning environment, and what drives that process of construction and use. This thesis investigates the learner’s learning environment from the learner’s perspective. Through the analysis of semi-structured interviews, and personality type as determined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, it identified three drivers that impact upon the construction and use of the learner’s learning environment. These three drivers are: 1) the learner’s impetus to learn; 2) the self-perceived technology ability of the learner; and 3) the personality type of the learner. This thesis looks at the construction of the learner’s learning environment as part of constructivist theory, recognizing that, as in the construction of new, individual representations of knowledge, each learner forms new, individual representations of his/her own learning environment, determined by the drivers that impact on this construction and use. The thesis also examines the learner’s learning environment in light of the provided environment for the unit of study they are enrolled in. It shows that pedagogical approaches, learning environment design and choice of elements included in the provided environment, may be at odds with the learner’s drivers and the way in which they construct their learning environment. As a consequence, the educator cannot guarantee the learner will use the provided environment as intended or envisaged, which may impact on the learning outcomes for the learner. These findings therefore, provide insights into the ways in which a learner incorporates the provided environment into his/her own unique learning environment, offering practical information for the design and development of the provided environment.