Ghent University (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 7802-7809
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0786
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
The aim of professional development programs (PDP) in higher education (HE) is to transfer learning to improve the quality of education. To reduce the transfer gap we used Self-determination Theory (SDT) to study the PDP design process of 12 Ecuadorian universities focusing on the extent to which these designs took into account the Basic Psychological Needs (BPN) of autonomy, competence, and relatedness of teachers that determine their motivation to transfer. Our findings suggest PDP mainly focuses on teachers’ need of competence, neglecting other essential areas that may influence transfer. Data were collected through 16 face-to-face interviews with individuals responsible for the centralized units in charge of PDP. We analyzed the data and coded it according to indicators in relation to the satisfaction or frustration of the BPN. From a quantitative perspective, our results show the following number of coded units: Autonomy frustration: 46; Autonomy-satisfaction: 50; Competence-frustration: 3; Competence-satisfaction: 48; Relatedness-frustration: 2; Relatedness-satisfaction: 1.
In autonomy-frustration, we found indicators related to the structure and organization of the PDP, indicating a top-down structure in the design process of PDP. Regarding autonomy-satisfaction, a comparable number of indicators focused mainly on needs analysis performed at the end of a PDP. We found elements in competence that may frustrate its satisfaction if faculty is not allowed to put into practice what they learned. In competence-satisfaction, we found substantial efforts to facilitate teaching new learning to faculty members in areas of pedagogy and research. In relatedness-frustration we found few indicators, showing a lack of accompaniment during the transfer process after the conclusion of PDP.
These results lead the authors to propose a model based on SDT to assist in the design process of PDP to improve transfer of learning. To support autonomy it is essential for faculty members to understand the new knowledge presented to them for professional growth. We suggest the promotion of initiatives that allow faculty to internalize their new knowledge by active involvement in the design process through activities such as: participation in the needs analysis, explication of reasons behind the presentation of new knowledge, comprehension of how it could affect their career, etc. To foster the need of competence there should be a positive perception on the learner to be able to encounter the complex academic environment, allowing an adequate application of what was learned. In view of an effective transfer of learning the academic staff require extra reinforcement from the institution. In this sense, theory over practice, and lack of feedback may hinder the need of competence in the learner. This study would like to highlight the lack of support to the need of relatedness particularly after the conclusion of PDP. In this line, we recommend accompaniment during the transfer process even when the PDP has ended. Activities such as feedback, peer assessment, positive reinforcement, etc., should be considered in the design of PDP. Finally, we emphasize the inclusion of elements from all the BPN to motivate academic staff to successfully transfer new learning.
In conclusion, we propose SDT and the satisfaction of the BPN as a new theoretical framework to design PDP that foster motivation in academic staff for a successful transfer of learning
Professional Development, Transfer of learning, Self-determination theory, Higher Education.