Developing a conceptual learning enhancement framework for study abroad programmes: the role of action research in the participation of students

Simos, Joanna Patricia (2020) Developing a conceptual learning enhancement framework for study abroad programmes: the role of action research in the participation of students. DProf thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Studying abroad is frequently described as a life changing experience yet evidence suggests that more can be done to improve and add value to the student experience. This doctoral study purposes to present how learning can be enhanced for the student abroad through a broad spanning consideration of good education practice.

With an emphasis on the student as a valuable resource, this study uses an action research approach to uncover evidence of high value learning experiences by engaging student participation in the development of a learning enhancement framework design to guide practice.

The doctoral project takes place at a study abroad university in Athens. The methodological design consists of action research within a qualitative setting and is conducted through a series of guided focus groups over a systematic time frame. The diverse sample consists of 12 students who attend a US homeschool and share the same study abroad location during the study.

Enriching this primary study, two additional data sources are used to support and compare findings:

- Professional observations systematically considered and recorded over time include critical incidents and offer professional insight into the study context.

- Introducing Experiential Education, a professional project designed and instructed by the researcher took place separately during the timeframe of this doctoral project, the outcomes of which are directly relevant to the broader topic of learning enhancement and to the questions posed by this study.

Supported by the relevant literature, the primary study and 2 secondary studies are used in the synthesis of triangulated outcomes and claims. Taking an in depth, critical examination of the study, and developing an emerging framework from this analysis, the case is made for utilising student participation to implement improvements to educational practice. Drawing on the complete findings and outcomes, a series of mechanisms bridging the gap between learning experience and student are presented as mechanisms that can be used within the Learning Enhancement Model as drivers of good practice.

Significant outcomes include the correlation between students’ engagement with the local culture, academic performance and student enjoyment of the experience abroad. The emerging conceptual framework for learning enhancement is presented as the primary contribution to knowledge in the study abroad field and identifies a system of professional good practice that could be adopted and adapted by learning instructors, administrators and study abroad providers. The presentation of the work offers the second contribution to knowledge by showcasing the role of action research in the participation of students and documenting the development of the study.

The thesis concludes that study abroad currently provides the potential for a rich learning experience. Innovatively, the study determines that by considering the emerging indicators of enhanced learning and incorporating them into strategic and teaching levels, students and educators will benefit from a re-evaluated model of practice, through the emerging Learning Enhancement Framework is presented in the study.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Theses
Item ID: 30313
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2020 08:48
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:35

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