During the first week of this semester, all new students (N=678) in our bachelor programmes were invited to participate in a survey called Me and My Knowledge. The students completed the web survey during scheduled sessions, and (most probably) due to this arrangement, we managed to collect 521 responses, out of which the major part is complete.
Our sincerest thanks to all participating students!
With 71 statements, the web survey may have been a bit challenging but still, the participants managed to complete it in about 11 minutes on average. We gained a very good response activity of 76.2%, varying across degree programmes between 52.6% and 100%.
The mean age of the respondents was 23.1 with the median of 21, indicating that most students are around 19-22 years of age but that we also have a number of students aged over the whole scale up to 50+ (in statistics this is called a right skew, where the distribution curve shows a long right tail). Out of the population’s 38 nationalities the sample contains 32, representing all (populated) continents except Australia. 78.8% have received their basic education in Swedish or Finnish, and 21.3% in some other of more then 20 languages.
The statements regarding the students’ views on knowledge and learning, on critical thinking and on study motivation are basically not analysed singly but instead, they are used to compute various sum variables, indicating traits and attitudes such as how much you trust authorities, how you feel about building your knowledge together with others and what motivates you to study. A first glance on the data suggests that our new students (in general) believe strongly that each individual can learn how to learn; this is promising considering that Learning Competence is one of the learning goals of the course Introduction to University Studies.
Further, our students also believe strongly that you can build your knowledge by reflecting upon previous knowledge and new information. The students’ Critical thinking skills show a good start but can certainly be improved.
The indicators expressing study motivation also look promising. Our students are highly motivated and seem to find pleasure in learning. The motivation factors will provide interesting starting points for further discussions around the question ‘what actually motivates me?’
As mentioned in this project’s Privacy Notice for Scientific Research (External link), no results are reported on individual level but only in terms of group-wide trends. Still, we will be able to identify differences e.g. based on previous education or across degree programmes, which will provide teachers, study counselors and developers valuable information for improving our education, both on programme and course level.
This study is part of the larger project Knowing and Learning in the Postdigital, and will be followed up by further data collections; quantitative data using surveys but also qualitative data e.g. in the form of reflection diaries from the course Introduction to University Studies. We are very much looking forward to analysing the reflection diaries since, whereas survey data provides meters about to which extent our students think ‘this or that’, the reflection diaries will provide a deeper description into what is contained in ‘this or that’. The follow-up surveys will also collect background data that are important in providing various perspectives for analysing data, e.g. across which groups to compare and how to interpret the results.
From the above, we hope all students understand how important it is for Arcada to gain as complete data as possible from all the various data collections. Therefore, we sincerely hope that students participate also in all future data collections within Knowing and Learning in the Postdigital.
To cite this blog: Ståhl, T. (2019, October 9). Our new students are curious and motivated to learn! [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://inside.arcada.fi/pedagogerna/our-new-students-are-curious-and-motivated-to-learn/