Eliciting female students’ requirements for a science learning environment
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The importance of improving science learning and teaching is evident in a renewed emphasis on science as a curriculum area in recent years. Previous research has demonstrated the relationship between science learning environments and students' learning outcomes. Through increasing equity awareness and inclusive educational approaches which address gender stereotyping, there has also been accompanying encouragement of female students to study science. However, there is very limited knowledge on what attributes of science learning environments are most significant to students, and little research on science learning environments which support female students studying science. In this study, we discuss the use of a means-end approach in systematically eliciting and analyzing female students' requirements for a science learning environment. This research provides a significant contribution as it identifies eleven critical requirements which can inform the design of science learning environments. Among all critical requirements, there are four most important requirements for female students. These include solving problems with classmates, asking the teacher questions, solving problems by investigation, and opportunities for deciding learning activities by themselves. Furthermore, a majority of critical requirements suggest two key dimensions, namely, involvement and cooperation, which illustrate female students prefer taking an active participation in group discussion and cooperation to solve questions regarding science subject. Following the means-end chain methodology to analyze the relation between female students' personal values and the perception of science learning environments, this research found that female students develop a sense of accomplishment, self-fulfilment, and fun and enjoyment of life, which motivates them to continue learning in a science learning environment when these requirements are provided. This research provides practical implications for the design and implementation of science learning environments to better meet the requirements of female students.
Researching Across Boundaries - AARE Conference 2011
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Educational Technology and Computing