Effects of collaborative learning on undergraduate students’ self-efficacy and engagement in learning: An action research study

Pui Sze Queenie LAW

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses

Abstract

Self-efficacy is found to be a strong predictor of academic achievement. Self-efficacy is positively related to engagement, raising self-efficacy improves academic success and performance. To improve students’ performance, collaborative learning is one of the teaching approaches for enhancing self-efficacy and engagement in learning. Collaborative learning is extensively used to facilitate students’ learning in education. Despite substantial literature regarding the application of collaborative learning in different disciplines, there was limited relevant literature specifying the design of collaborative learning for enhancing self-efficacy, engagement and subject knowledge in learning. Most of the similar studies have been conducted in western settings, this study was the unique cultural contribution to the existing studies. This study adopted an action research approach which aimed to explore the effect of collaborative learning on undergraduate students’ self-efficacy and engagement in learning.
There were three cycles in the action research design, each set in a different context. In Cycle One, the research was based on Bandura’s self-efficacy belief and Linnenbrink and Pintrich’s general framework for self-efficacy, engagement and learning. The researcher designed a collaborative learning framework and examined the effect of the collaborative learning on undergraduate students’ self-efficacy and engagement in learning English in the first cycle. Five undergraduate students completed the collaborative learning over a two months’ period. Data were collected through questionnaires and focus group interview at the end of Cycle One. The undergraduate students had significantly increased in their language self-efficacy scores. Three themes, namely, gained some sources of self-efficacy in learning English, increased in self-efficacy in learning English, and increased engagement in learning English emerged from the undergraduate students. These findings demonstrated that the collaborative learning was feasible and helped the undergraduate students to gain self-efficacy and engagement in learning. Some strategies for helping students improve their self-efficacy and engagement learning English were further explored in the next two cycles.
In Cycle Two, King’s goal attainment theory was adopted in the collaborative learning. The researcher revised the conceptual framework in Cycle Two. The aim of this cycle was to ascertain the effect of the collaborative learning on the undergraduate students’ self-efficacy and engagement in learning English in the newly devised conceptual framework. Eight undergraduate students completed the collaborative learning in two semesters. Data were collected through questionnaires and focus group interview at the end of Cycle Two. Goal setting impacts on enhancement of students’ self-efficacy. Three themes, namely, improvement in English, gained varied skills, and developed positive attitude in learning emerged from the undergraduate students. These findings demonstrated that most students achieved their goals, perceived enhancement of self-efficacy, and engagement in learning via participation in this collaborative learning. The application of collaborative learning in a conventional classroom setting with another subject matter as the teaching content was further explored in last cycle.
In the third and last cycle, the focus was to evaluate the effect of the collaborative learning on undergraduate students in learning nutrition. Through the collaborative process, the undergraduate students’ learning was assessed with respect to their self-efficacy, social skills and nutrition knowledge in learning nutrition. Forty-nine undergraduate students studied in this nutrition course with collaborative learning as the teaching approach. The findings supported that most students achieved goals, experienced enhancement of self-efficacy in learning, and improved their nutrition knowledge and social skills via their participation in this collaborative learning environment.
This study has proposed a design for collaborative learning and has demonstrated its application in two subject areas. Seven design features of collaborative learning are recommended for effective collaborative learning. The newly developed conceptual model is original and the research findings showed that the collaborative learning with mutual goal setting process is effective in improving self-efficacy, engagement and subject knowledge in learning and in turn improving social skills. It is feasible to replicate the design of this collaborative learning in future research. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Self-efficacy
  • Engagement in learning
  • Collaborative learning
  • Action research
  • Alt. title: Action research: Enhancing undergraduate student’s self-efficacy and engagement in learning English through community service participation
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2017.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of collaborative learning on undergraduate students’ self-efficacy and engagement in learning: An action research study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.