Using Student Perceptions of the Learning Environment to Evaluate the Effectiveness of A Learner-Centered Chemistry Instructional Program in Higher Education

Year: 2017

Author: Rahayu, Sri

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Over the past decades, universities around the world have called for a change in the instructional strategy lecturers use in their classrooms from teacher-centered to learner-centered. A similar appeal is also announced in Indonesia as stated in Law No. 12 Year 2012 on Higher Education. However, most lecturers especially in the university where this research has done use dominant expository strategy that lead to teacher-centered. In fact, within this atmosphere students' academic achievement especially for General Chemistry course is relatively low from year to year. Lecturers using learner-centered strategy view learning as a democratic approach that shifts the position of lecturers as the main learning environment becomes more directed to the environment around students. This will be happened by increasing the opportunity of students to participate actively in the classroom and engaging in independent learning outside the classroom, as well as providing a forum where they can share learning information with peers. University students will likely need lecturer assistance in developing their learning skills required to live in the 21th century and to be scientific literate citizen and the skills could be achieved by creating a learner-centered environment. An innovative program was designed by incorporating the principles of constructivist theory, contemporary issues & socioscientific issues and inquiry approach for teaching General Chemistry in the first year university. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in terms of students' perceptions of the learning environment. This study used triangulated mixed-methods using a post-test only quasi-experiment, observations of activities and interview. Research subjects were freshman prospective chemistry teachers who took general chemistry course. They were consisted of two groups selected by convenient sampling, i.e an experiment group ( N = 32) was treated by the innovative program and a control group (N= 30) were treated by conventional method. The research instrument consisted of 48 items of WIHIC questionnaire with Likert scale (R = 0.921) that measured seven scales. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS 23 and qualitative data was analysed descriptively and then triangulated. The result shows that the innovative program was effective in constructing the learner-centered environment in higher education level. However, the effect sizes for all scales were varied (according to Cohen's criteria). The highest scores were on investigation and cooperation scales. These findings were discussed.
Keywords: higher education, learner-centered, learning environment