Doctoral dissertation

Jouko Jousea: Blogs as learning environment

Jouko Jousea
The doctoral dissertation of Master of Arts (Education) Jouko Jousea investigatesthe features of blogs as a learning environment and their significance for pedagogical practices and university student self-regulation.

These key factors for the learning process were examined in the study from the perspectives of the student and the teacher. The analyses of the study were based on method triangulation. The quantitative data of the student survey were analyzed by multivariate analysis methods (Principal Component Analysis, Two -way ANOVA, and Linear Regression Analysis) and open-ended responses by Data-Driven Content Analysis. The research material from the teachers consist ed of semi-structured interviews. Their analysis was based on Theory-Driven Content Analysis, with John Biggs 3P model of teaching and learning as the theoretical guiding element.

Social media is based on interaction and community between participants. These also proved to be key factors in blogs as a learning environment. As a learning environment, blogs produced significantly more active interaction than compared Moodle courses without face-t o -face teaching. Students found writing to blogs meaningful and useful. In the interaction, students felt the importance of peer feedback from their own ideas and thoughts was import ant. It stimulated personal reflection and encouraged investment in one’s own performance.

Blogs resulted in significantly more active collaboration among students than the Moodle courses compared. Students perceived blogs as a collaborative environment where sharing information and ideas was easy. However, students usually try to meet each other face to face when needed.

The analyses carried out showed that blogs are suitable as a learning environment for people of different ages and at different stages of university studies, regardless of discipline. Blogs provided intrinsic motivation. Mere access to blogs could motivate students. Internet audience comments motivate better academic performance. Public pressure in open interaction directed the refinement of ideas before they were published.

Students were generally positive about blogs, and blogging was felt to be nice. Ease of use and flexibility were added to the features that supported the study of blogs. However, there were clear differences between students in their ability to perceive the support and opportunities offered by blogs as a learning environment.

Those who study education as their main subject had better self-regulation of the learning process in the early stages of university studies than student s in other faculties.

However, the differences between student s leveled off with increasing age and advancement in studies. Student s were able to achieve the importance of co -regulation brough t about by interaction for their own learning. In addition, blog interaction was felt to bring courage and a willingness to publicly express one’s own thoughts. The blogs also highlighted differences in the regulation of study emotions. Blogs were perceived positively when the load on the learning environment was balanced in relation to the student’ s resources . Otherwise, they reinforced negative learning emotions.

Blogs made it possible to use pedagogical practices different from closed e-learning environments. The student or small group could be allowed to set up and manage their own e-learning environment . The student interact ion could be made publicly available. This increased the motivation to participate in the discussions. Thanks to publicity, the learning environment became an authentic operating environment for the student . The discussions held by the students in public proved to be of better quality than the exchange of ideas that remained within the course. However, the openness of the interaction to outsiders could raise the threshold for publishing ideas and limit the topics of discussion.

Through autonomous work and a high degree of freedom in assignments, teachers seek to support the development of student’ s self-regulatory skills. In small group work, taking responsibility and working together developed students’ co - regulatory skills. They could be developed using judging practices based on small group work. External regulation practices included task rescheduling schedules and milestones created for courses. These also included teacher interventions in small group work and forced assignments.

In summary, the findings of the analyzes suggest that blogs as a learning environment, formed significant support for achieving learning objectives. The activity they interacted with and the collaboration towards learning goals support e d learning. The features of the blogs supported collaborative learning and student orientation in pedagogical practices. For those studying to become teachers, they offered the opportunity to become acquainted with the features and uses of the media as a learning environment. Irrespective of the discipline, blogs proved to be a learning environment that developed students´ competencies, where it was possible to work in an open and authentic operating environment if learning goals guided the student to do so.

The doctoral dissertation of Master of Arts (Education) Jouko Jousea in the field on education titled Blogit oppimisympäristönä will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Education and Culture of Tampere University at 12 o'clock on Friday 29 October, 2021. The venue is Pinni A building Paavo Koli auditorium, address: Kanslerinrinne 1. Docent Anne Nevgi from University of Helsinki will be the opponent while Docent Vesa Korhonen will act as the custos.

The event can be followed via remote connection.

The dissertation is available online at
http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-03-2121-5

Photo: Jaana Lahdenniemi

 

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