C. Kummer, P. Hauptfeld

University of Applied Sciences Burgenland (AUSTRIA)
Against the background of an increasingly competitive higher education landscape, the teacher-student interaction is a crucial factor to engage students and enhance their learning experience (cp. Sousa 2011 [1]). Teachers need to know and get trained in the critical success factors for teaching in a digitalized and diverse world. Few studies have explored those success factors with a qualitative approach. The aim of this study is to collect insights from the students’ perspective on personal learning highlights of their studies.

Twenty face-to-face interviews were conducted with business management students (bachelor and master level) in their last year or shortly after graduating, using the critical incident interview technique (cp. Victoroff & Hogan 2005 [2]) to identify and describe successful teaching styles, effective communicative behavior, and stimulating activities adopted in class. Each student was asked to describe in detail a memorable learning experience; to give information on why this experience was different, and what the teacher did that made it special to them.

The interviews showed that students evaluate their learning experience along the lines of virtual and contact activities, teachers’ feedback and communication performance, and their personal feeling of achievement in class. Furthermore, creating their own learning objectives and following their own pace is seen as important by students. Effective learning experiences are associated with small groups, interactive tasks, problem-based learning and a good management of digital tools.

[1] Sousa, F.C. (2011): “Creative Teaching and Effective Teaching”, International Journal of Organizational Innovation, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 5-44
[2] Victoroff, K. Z.; Hogan, S. (2005): “Students’ Perceptions of Effective Learning Experiences in Dental School: A Qualitative Study Using a Critical Incident Technique”, Journal of Dental Education, vol. 70, no. 2, pp. 124-132.