Research into learning environments: Directions for the future

Year: 1994

Author: Moriarty, Beverley

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Research into co-operative, competitive and individualistic learning environments has a long history, commencing in the 1920's and still being very strong today. Recent research has addressed some of the limitations of earlier studies by being conducted over longer periods, which enables the differential effects of the various environments to become more apparent, and by the use of cross-over designs which permit the effects of changing from one environment to another to be examined.

Perhaps the most innovative contributions recently have been the development of two theoretically-based instruments to determine the extent to which classes conform to the goals, tasks and rewards by which the environments under which they are required to operate are defined, thus addressing questions of validity. The Class Description Questionnaire (CDQ) was developed to determine the nature of the learning environment from high school students' perspectives. The Learning Environment Video Observation Schedule (LEVOS) is a system of video observation and analysis which enables the researcher to quantify the extent to which teachers and students conform to the requirements associated with the learning environment. The results of the LEVOS are presented on three-dimensional graphs indicating the percentages of class time spent on goals, tasks and rewards which are either co-operatively, competitively or individualistically based. The LEVOS also allows the researcher to identify any other variables which may not have previously been considered important but which may affect results on dependent variables such as achievement.