Cooperative learning strategies to promote Self-Directed Learning

Project leader: Prof Elsa Mentz

Source of funding: NRF project

Objectives:

The objectives of this research project are to determine:

  • Which theoretical underpinnings exist within the theory of cooperative learning (CL) which concur with the notion of self-directed learning (SDL).
  • How can the elements of CL be applied in order to not only result in effective learning, but also in promoting SDL among students in different knowledge fields at higher education and school level.
  • How the implementation of different types of CL groups can contribute to the promotion of SDL.
  • How strategies related to metacognition, action learning and constructivism can be incorporated into a CL environment in order to effectively promote SDL.
  • What the impact of promoting higher-order thinking skills within a cooperative learning environment is on the improvement of SDL.
  • How quality assessment opportunities can be created within a cooperative learning environment to promote SDL.
  • How the principles of whole brain learning can be applied to enrich a CL environment to promote SDL.
  • How the elements of CL can be applied within a blended learning web-based environment to promote SDL.

 

The affordances of indigenous knowledge for Self-Directed Learning

Project leader: Prof Josef de Beer

Source of funding: NRF project

Objectives:

The objectives of this research project are to determine:

  • How indigenous knowledge could best be incorporated in the school CAPS curriculum in science, mathematics and technology.
  • How science, technology and mathematics teachers view indigenous knowledge before and after a three-day short course on indigenous knowledge.
  • How teachers use problem-based learning and cooperative learning principles in teaching indigenous knowledge in their classrooms.
  • What problems teachers experience in transferring their knowledge of and skills on indigenous knowledge in their classrooms.
  • How the intervention on indigenous knowledge could promote self-directed learning among teachers and learners.

 

STEM teachers learning from Indigenous Knowledge Systems practitioners

Project leader: Prof Josef de Beer

Source of funding: NRF project

Objectives:

The objectives of this research project are to determine:

  • How indigenous knowledge holders (and museums) could become a third partner in the school-university value chain.
  • How teachers could learn about indigenous knowledge in authentic situations from the holders of indigenous knowledge themselves.
  • Whether the holders of indigenous knowledge are self-directed learners.
  • How indigenous knowledge, as a means to better contextualise curricula, could foster SDL.
  • How Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) could best be used as a research lens in studying the incorporation of indigenous knowledge in the STEM classroom.

 

Teachers without Borders: Creating indigenous knowledge science labs in rural schools

Project leader: Prof Josef de Beer

Source of funding: Fuchs Foundation

Objectives:

The objectives of this research project are to determine:

  • How teacher agency could be developed and supported in STEM subjects.
  • How science-on-a-shoestring kits could best be utilised to promote problem-based learning in the classroom.
  • How project-based learning, utilising the resource packs developed, could promote SDL.
  • How a pedagogy of play, through the use of puppetry, could be used to provide learners with a more nuanced understanding of the nature of science and indigenous knowledge.
  • How teachers’ professional development could be enhanced through well-functioning communities of practice.

 

Enhancing engineering students’ self-directed learning through problem-based learning

Project leader: Prof Marietjie Havenga

Source of funding: NRF project

Objectives:

  • Main research aim: Determining to which extent engineering students' self-directed learning could be enhanced through the introduction of the problem-based learning strategy.
  • Determining to which extent cooperative elements can support PBL to enhance students’ self-directed learning
  • Determining to which extent blended learning can support PBL to enhance students’ self-directed learning.
  • Determining to which extent assessment can support PBL to enhance students’ self-directed learning.
  • Determining to which extent the integration of PBL enhances engineering students’ self-directed learning and indicating how the nature of this change enhances SDL.
  • Contributing to knowledge production regarding the enhancement of engineering students’ self-directed learning through the introduction of PBL.

 

Fostering Aspects of Self-Directed Learning through Personalized and Adaptive Instruction Design in Online Learning Environments (SDL-PAID)

Project leader: Prof Christo van der Westhuizen

Source of funding: Joint Research Project funding: Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences (SDUAS) and NWU

Objectives:

The aim of this study is twofold. Firstly, to determine the aspects that foster SDL and domain-specific skills by personalised and adaptive instruction design in online learning environments (SDS-PAID), and secondly to propose a framework for designing on-demand domain-specific SDL online learning environments for personalised and adaptive learning experiences. A number of domain topics of Natural Sciences have been chosen to serve as examples. This study is also guided by the following three-pronged research question to determine:

  • To what extent it is possible to foster domain-specific knowledge with adaptive instruction when implementing self-regulation and student control over the learning tasks (considering pre-knowledge, procrastination, engagement, as well as interferences between learning activities and performance/behaviour measuring).
  • What domain-specific technology-based environments should be designed to develop the relevant self-directed skills that students will carry into subsequent learning situations.
  • Which factors have to be considered to implement at scale Adaptive Technology-based learning Systems in a university (case bases: SDUAS and NWU).

 

Integrated TouchTutorTM Mathematics Development and Support Project (ITSP)

Project leader: Prof Hercules Nieuwoudt

Source of funding: THRIP; 4th Stream

Objectives:

A pilot off-line Tablet-assisted Peer Support (TAPS) project in collaboration with the Govern Mbeki Math Development Centre, NMMU

  • To establish and support a professional learning community (PLC) of in-service Mathematics teachers from the project schools so as to promote the effective delivering of the curriculum in their classes.
  • To implement an effective Tablet&TouchTutor® incubation and support programme on Saturdays for selected Grades 10-12 Mathematics learners from project schools so as to develop and practice self-directed learning to address Mathematics content gaps, and to successfully bridge the divide between secondary and tertiary education despite socio-economic challenges.

 

Conceptualizing SDL in South Africa: Praxis towards Sustainable Empowering Learning Environments

Project leader: Prof Charlene Du Toit-Brits

Source of funding: SDL project

Objectives:

The overall objective is to conceptualize Self-Directed Learning within the unique South African context to improve ALL teaching environments that will result in effective SDL practices in South African schools.

The potential of the acceptance and implementation of this proposed framework includes:

(a) effective self-directed learning in the disadvantaged learner; 

(b) increase SDL skills of these learners, as well as other learners in the same  classroom, , where they can take responsibility for their own learning; and

(c) an increase in these learners’ academic, emotional and/or cultural preparedness which can improve their ability and/or preparedness to be self-directed learners for life. 

This framework could also be used as assistance to teachers to cultivate self-directed learners. Teachers also need to take learners’ environments into consideration when employing SDL in their classrooms.

The following aims have been formulated for this research:

Aim 1:

  • To determine how SDL can be conceptualised within a unique South African education environment to cultivate learners as self-directed learners;

Sub-aim i: In order to achieve this aim, we want to determine which elements of a learner’s existence need to be addressed when constructing a SDL environment within the South African education environment.

Sub-aim ii: TTo determine the relationship between SDL and these elements (identified in Aim 1) on learners’ ability and readiness to be effective self-directed learners.

Aim 2:

  • To formulate a framework according to which SDL can be applied effectively in classes to build a culture of SDL in South African classrooms.

 

Understanding the unlearning of the hunt-and-peck keyboarding technique, and the learning/relearning of touch-typing as another keyboarding technique

Project leader: Dr Elsie Lubbe

Source of funding: SoTL project

Objectives:

  • Explain how unlearning and relearning of a skill differ from other forms of learning.
  • Determine what type of knowledge students apply during the unlearning of the hunt-and-peck keyboarding technique, and the learning and relearning of touch-typing as another type of keyboarding technique.
  • Find out what do students think is the role of self-directed learning readiness and metacognition in the unlearning of the hunt-and-peck keyboarding technique and the learning and relearning of touch-typing as another keyboarding technique.
  • Critically analyse and interpret the data in order to compile an action plan, which could be used as guidelines to unlearn the hunt-and-peck method as keyboarding technique and to learn touch-typing as keyboarding technique.

 

Establishing learning presence in large groups in a Cooperative learning (CL) - Blended learning (BL) environment to enhance self-directed learning

Project leader: Dr Chantelle Bosch

Source of funding: SoTL project

Objectives:

This study aims to report on establishing learning presence in large groups in a CL-BL environment to enhance self-directed learning (SDL).

The objectives for this study therefore are:

  • To determine what learning presence entails.
  • To determine how to adopt face-2-face teaching strategies for an online environment.
  • To determine how to establish learner presence in large groups in a CL-BL environment to enhance SDL.
  • To determine how to establish facilitator presence in large groups in a CL-BL environment to enhance SDL.

 

Teachers’ roles in the development of learners’ self-regulated learning

Project leader: Dr Bernadette Geduld

Source of funding: None

Objectives:

  • To contribute to promoting SRL as a vital prerequisite for SDL in schools and to compare South African and Namibian teachers’ perspectives.
  • To obtain qualitative data on grade 8 teachers’ perspectives on the value of SRL.
  • To determine if teachers are aware of SRL and specifically if they are trained to use and implement SRL strategies.
  • To explore different individual differences and nuances in factors that influence grade 8 teachers’ use of self-regulatory teaching.
  • Analyse and compare contextual factors that influence grade 8 teachers’ motivation and self-efficacy to develop SRL skills in their learners.
  • Explore how the development of SRL contributes to the development of SDL.

 

Lecturers’ written feedback practices on student assessment to support self-directed learning: a case study

Project leader: Prof Kobus Lombard

Source of funding: Internal funds (SDL)

Objectives:

The objectives of this research project are to:

  • Uncover the theoretical foundations of feedback on student assessment that resonate with the notion of SDL.
  • Establish lecturers’ conceptions of feedback on student assessment related to the notion of SDL.
  • Investigate how lecturers provide written feedback on student assessment related to the notion of SDL.