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Exploring transition toward independent learning: Student experiences in the first year of architecture school

Al Maani, Duaa 2019. Exploring transition toward independent learning: Student experiences in the first year of architecture school. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis explores the learning experiences of students in the architectural design studio, specifically looking at learning issues associated with the transition from dependence to independence and analysing students’ accounts of their learning processes during their first year. The study methodology combined both qualitative and quantitative tools. The Autonomous Learning Scale (ALS) of Macaskill and Taylor (2010) was employed for the quantitative component, measuring students’ perceived level of independence at two different points in their first academic year. This provided a detailed evaluation of the key factors in learning independence – such as gender, age, and nationality – and tracked changes in the students’ skills throughout the year, in addition to investigating the correlation between level of learning independence and academic performance. The sample for the quantitative study consisted of two groups: the first comprised 87 students who completed the ALS questionnaire at the beginning of the year; and the second, 83 students who completed the questionnaire at the end of the year. During the time between ALS1 and ALS2, we collected narratives from 10 students through 50 interviews to gain a fuller understanding of their independence experiences, particularly with respect to their engagement with and transition onto the course. The findings suggest that the design studio is a suitable environment for facilitating learning independence in higher education. Most of the students appreciated the learning environment within the school and expressed a feeling of belonging to the community, stating that it had helped them to become more independent. More importantly, an analysis of the narratives revealed that the respondents perceived themselves as becoming more independent as they progressed through the year. However, many of the participants felt uncertain about aspects of independent learning and wanted more guidance and support, remaining attached to the practice of tutor centred learning.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Architecture
Funders: Applied Science University
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 February 2020
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2020 02:23

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