Skip to content High contrast mode
Logo of Tallinn University

PhDStudent engagement in student centered and collaborative learning

Tuition fee FREE
Application fee €100 one-time
More information

tlu.ee/..ti/educational-sciences#admission 

Overview

In Student-centered learning (SCL), students take responsibility for their own learning, generate learning
opportunities and reconstruct knowledge dynamically in an open-ended learning environment (Hannafin et al. 2014). Implementation of SCL on a larger scale in schools, however, is a challenge due to the complexity of such learning arrangements. The application of different types of learning technology in these settingsfurther increases the complexity for the learner.
The CEITER research group at TLU is co-developing, implementing and researching different scenariosfor student-centered learning in cooperation with Estonian secondary school teachers through collaborative research methods (like EDULABS) in an experimental classroom setting (EDUSPACE). There is now a need to assess different aspects of SCL such as student engagement, transformative experience, conceptual change or higher order thinking.
The general guiding research question is: What are the essential cognitive and instructional factors that promote engagement in student-centered collaborative learning in technology-rich environments, and how to measure their impact on student learning?
The prospective PhD student should have experience with empirical research in educational settings and ideally with the development and adaptation of empirical research instruments (such as observation schemes, questionnaires, tests or technology-based solutions). The research could focus on different aspects of SCL and its impact, such as

1. Conceptual change in collaborative learning settings
Different factors that influence students’ conceptual change have been explored, however, rather than focusing research attention on cognitive processes and conceptual structures only, research should also concentrate on what kind of social engagements and interactions provide the proper context for learning to take place (Fleer, 2009). The PhD project aims to explore how collaborative learning activities and group dynamics contribute to conceptual change and restructuring of students’ misconceptions, and to develop and validate a respective research instrument.

2. Student engagement in student-centered learning scenarios
Student-centered learning scenarios facilitated with technology-enhanced pedagogical practices have potential to support students’ deep-learning (long-term retention and transferable skills) and classroom engagement. The aim of PhD project is to explore student classroom engagement from four dimensions: behavioural, emotional, agentical and cognitive (Christenson et al., 2013; Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris 2004; Reeve, 2013) in different student centered learning scenarios, and to develop and validate a respective research instrument.

3. Transformative experience through creating artefacts
Learning through curating, modifying or authoring digital or physical artifacts of various kinds (ideas, practices, models, representations, etc.) (Hsu, Baldwin, Ching, 2017; Slussareff & Bohácková, 2016; Paavola, Engeström & Hakkarainen, 2012) emphasizes learners as active participants in knowledge building. Getting a creator’s role, students are likely to recognize personal relevance and meaningfulness and to be deeply engaged with the phenomenon/artefact under focus both behaviorally (actively using concepts) and cognitively (relating concepts to one’s experience) forming basis for students’ transformative
experience – a particular instantiation of transformative learning in which students use content ideas in everyday experience to see and value the out-of-school lives in new ways (Pugh et al., 2017).

The aim of the PhD project is to explore cognitive and instructional aspects that promote students’ engagement and transformative experience in SCL, and to develop and validate a respective research instrument.

Apply now! Fall semester 2020/21
Application period has ended
Studies commence
Aug 24, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2020/21
Application period has ended
Studies commence
Aug 24, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States