HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS’ PERCEPTION OF THEIR LEARNING OUTCOMES: VALIDATION OF A MEASUREMENT SCALE
Link Campus University (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Higher Education (HE) has profoundly changed in the last few years in Europe. Learning outcomes have become both the social thermometer to evaluate the quality and the efficiency of the tertiary education process and the strategy to spread education out to a broader public. The paper aims at testing a scale for measuring the students’ perception of what their learning outcomes will be. This research was carried out in the framework of the Empower Competences for Onlife Learning in HE (ECOLHE) project, co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. ECOLHE is a three-year project involving seven partners from six different European countries. Among many goals, the ECOLHE project aims at understanding how the challenge of promoting digital learning in HE could affect the perception of students about the efficacy and efficiency of their learning outcome. To this purpose, a questionnaire to be submitted in all partners' countries has been developed.
The methodological approach adopted to structure the questionnaire involved the following steps:
(1) preliminary items’ identification, carried out on the basis of a literature review;
(2) final selection of the items, defined by involving project partners as experts.
The resulting questionnaire has been tested by a pilot study involving 500 Spanish students. Data gathered have been studied to finally set an evaluable scale, to be used to address the following research question: “Does the learning experience affect the perception of learning outcome in higher education?”. Structural equation models (SEMs) have been the statistical tools used to reach the goal of the pilot study. The work is one of the first attempts in the literature to rigorously define a questionnaire to measure the students' perception about their learning outcome, accounting for the level of the University digital maturity perceived by students.
The paper discusses the statistical results of the scale assessment and shows the resulting questionnaire, finally structured by sections as follows:
(a) Learning experience, measuring perception about the innovation in teaching methodologies, learning approaches, tools and resources in learning activities, and assessment methods;
(b) Relational experience, aiming at offering a synthesis of perceptions and satisfaction about academic living and relationship with peers as well as teaching staff;
(c) Logistic and organisation, focusing on analysing students' perceptions of the suitability of university facilities, technological equipment available and the support they receive from administrative staff;
(d) Expected outcomes, exploring students’ perception of how studying at that University would affect their carriers’ options and professional empowerment;
(e) Profiling section and open questions to accomplish students' listening.
Keywords: Higher education institutions, perceived students' performance, SEM, scale assessment, students' self-belief.