Students' perceptions of different tertiary learning environments

Year: 1996

Author: Clarke, John A

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Using the Perceptions of Learning Environments Questionnaire (PLEQ), a semi-structured but open-ended data gathering procedure, 1249 students from 10 Schools in 5 Faculties at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) indicated, for different types of tertiary learning environments, not only the behaviours and practices that helped or hindered their learning but also why. Irrespective of the type of learning environment, students felt that their learning was helped when learning experiences were practical and experiential and the presentation and explanation clear mainly because these activities clarified their understanding and consolidated their learning; and that their learning was hindered when the pace of presentation was inappropriate and the presentation was unclear because these activities did not clarify their understanding or consolidate their learning. However, learning in each particular type of environment was also helped or hindered by activities and behaviours idiosyncratic to that environment. These and their reasons are identified and discussed and, although many are predictable, they reinforce the notions first, that different learning environments are designed to and in practice do produce different learning outcomes and second, that students are capable of discriminating between what they consider to be good and bad educational experiences.