THE PECULIARITIES OF A UNIVERSITY LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN A MIXED GROUP OF INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL STUDENTS
1 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LITHUANIA)
2 Kaunas University of Technology (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The learning outcomes of students from different cultures at a specialized university are directly dependent on the effectiveness of the educational environments being created at the university: how these environments meet the specific learning needs of students and motivate them for successful learning activities, i.e. creating their own personal learning environment. This specialized university has had a wealth of experience in working with international students, with 14 percent of international students studying at the university every year. International students study in English, and local students in Lithuanian. For the first time this academic year, a mixed group has been formed from the first year.
People of different cultures have different spiritual values, different language and thinking, marked by a peculiar cultural experience and conditioned by the factors that have influenced each individual's behaviour since childhood. Different values lead to different social rules, behaviors, attitudes towards certain situations, as well as the study process and learning. Different cultures create intercultural barriers, i.e. barriers to understanding other cultures. Often, these barriers cause difficulties in communication in the study process, as well as in creating successful learning environments in a mixed group of local and international students.
As observed in previous studies educational environments, where students' learning is also influenced by their own cultural differences, need to be particularly flexible.
The paper attempts to answer the question of what the characteristics of the learning environment when international and local students study together is compared to the experience of learning in a non-blended group.
The aim is to identify the peculiarities of a specialized university learning environment in a mixed group of international and local students.
The article is based on the theoretical positions that highlight constructivist attitudes, educational environments that are conducive to student empowerment, the preconditions for the emergence of deep learning, the differences in the learning environment and the educational environment and the issues of their relationship, and the specifics of modern learning and higher education.
The research participants, i.e. first-year mixed-group students and the lecturers working with them, were asked to answer semi-structured (formalized) interview questions. The study involved all mixed-group students (N =10), and the lecturers working with them (N=5). The study population is targeted, user-friendly, in the context relevant to the study. Convenient sampling was used, inviting volunteers to participate in the study.
The results of the study highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of blended learning in terms of enabling a student to study at university, i.e. creating an educational environment that gives each student the power to learn and influences successful study. Differences in the assessment of the components that make up such an environment, i.e. competency, psychology, study, and organizational conditions, have emerged for both the students and the faculty.
Keywords: Educational environment, learning in a mixed group, international students, university.