THE ATTITUDE OF THE STUDENTS FROM DIFFERENT CULTURAL BACKGROUNDS TOWARDS AN ENGAGING LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AT A SPECIALIZED UNIVERSITY
1 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LITHUANIA)
2 Kaunas University of Technology (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Learning achievements of the students with different cultural background in a specialized university directly depends on the effectiveness of the educational environments being developed at the university: how these environments meet the specific learning needs of the students and motivate them for successful learning activities, i.e. creating their own personal learning environment. Such a learning environment, in which students' attitudes to learning are also affected by their own cultural differences, has to be characterized by particular flexibility and non-traditional pedagogical decisions. Therefore, it is up to us, developers of such an educational environment, to find out the expectations of students, expressed as a vision of "dream studies", on which we could make the right educational decisions.
Lecturers working in a specialized university, and in particular with the students from different cultural backgrounds, face a variety of difficulties related to the expression of teachers' educational excellence.
The aim of the research:
To reveal the attitude of students from different cultural backgrounds towards the engaging learning environment at a specialized university.
The research questions:
- What peculiarities of the student with different cultural background learning environment at a specialized university could be observed and distinguished with the help of their imaginary "dream studies";
- What elements of the learning environment dominate when they are evaluated according to the criteria of the educational environment: goals, methods, measures, activities of the educators and the educated;
- What conditions for the empowerment of the student to study at a university, i.e. competence, psychological, or organizational, are the most important for students.
Participants of the research: first year students at an X specialised Lithuanian university (100 international students and 100 Lithuanian students). The participants in the study are asked to create and present a mind map of dream studies. The data of the mind maps were processed using qualitative content analysis.
The article is based on theoretical positions which highlight constructivist preferences.
The results of the research show that the categories and subcategories identified in the mind maps of "Dream Studies" allow identifying the following peculiarities of the learning environment: as regards the development of the educational environment in the group of participants in the international student group it is dominated by the category of goals and motivation category, while the students' educational empowerment studies are dominated by the psychological conditions. In the group of Lithuanian students, the part of the methods and the category of interactivity dominates in the development of the educational environment, and as regards the students' educational empowerment, the conditions of competence are dominant.
The results of the study made it possible to construct two joint mind maps of the "Dream Studies" and compare the main learning expectations of the international students and the Lithuanian students which are relevant for the developers of the educational environments to be taken into account.
Keywords: Learning environment, mind map, students with different cultural background.