Influence of autonomy, scaffolding, and audience on engagement in student-centered learning environments
Lee, Eun Bae
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Student-centered learning environments (SCLEs) provide contexts in which students assume increased autonomy and responsibility for their own learning. Students set learning goals; choose their paths to achieve the goals; explore, evaluate, and select resources; think critically to make further decisions based on emerging understanding; and design, develop, and share artifacts to represent their learning. The skills and knowledge students develop through student-centered learning suggest alternatives to preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s unknown challenges. Despite considerable prior research, many educators and designers lack a theoretically grounded framework to engage students in student-centered learning. This manuscript style dissertation presents the products of a design-based research program of inquiry to design, evaluate, and suggest a comprehensive framework for college-level student-centered learning environments. The theoretical framework was grounded in Constructivist and Constructionist epistemologies and Self-Determination theory. The Own it, Learn it, and Share it (OLSi) framework was informed by prior and current research evidence, and tested and refined iteratively during ongoing collaboration with the course professor in the spirit of design-based research. This dissertation document comprises an introductory chapter (Chapter 1) and a conclusion chapter (Chapter 6) that frame four journal-style manuscripts: Chapter 2 presents OLSi’s theoretical framework related to autonomy support, scaffolding, and audience. Chapter 3 reports findings from a needs assessment conducted prior to the full implementation of OLSi. Students’ experience while engaging a student-centered narrative writing assignment was examined through the collaboration between the researcher and the science educator. Chapter 4 presents a detailed analysis of the implementation of OLSi in a postsecondary student-centered science learning environment, including pre-and post-surveys featuring self-determination questionnaires, in-depth analyses of student interviews, observation, and course documents on the influence of autonomous motivation, scaffolding, and audience on student engagement, performance, and improvement. Finally, Chapter 5 presents practitioner-oriented guidelines for supporting autonomy in higher education, online contexts.