Yhteisöllisyys voimavarana yliopisto-opetuksen ja -opiskelun kehittämisessä

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandlingMonografi


The aim of this doctoral research was to determine how a sense of community
can be a resource for developing university teaching and learning. The theoretical
background is linked to social sciences, social psychology, university pedagogy and
educational sciences. Cooperative learning, which has a long research tradition,
was selected from among the educational theories. Furthermore, the collaborative
learning tradition, which has become stronger along with the socioconstructivist
paradigm, was used as a theoretical background. The research questions were:
What factors are experienced by students and teachers to enhance or impede learning?
How do the following concepts explain collaborative learning: the social interdependence
between group members, the sociocognitive conflict between group
members, the emotional support of the group and study as a process of integration
into the community of experts? What methods can be used to strengthen the sense
of community as a resource?
The thesis is comprised of two separate studies (study I and II). Study I consisted
of an action research project in which a model of cooperatively developing
a teaching and learning culture was created and tested. The focus of study I was
the university pedagogy programme of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.
Altogether, 145 people participated in the training. The materials consisted of all
documents that were collected during the project, of which the student learning
diaries were analysed more thoroughly. Materials were also collected via a questionnaire
that was sent to the participants one year after the last programme had
ended. The aim of study II was to determine how Open University students and
Bachelor’s degree students experience their teaching-learning environment and
the importance of the learning community and peer support to their studies. The
survey utilized internationally known measures: student experiences of teaching
and learning and student approaches to studying and learning. The research data
consisted of the survey responses of Open University students (n = 467) and Bachelor’s
degree students (n = 2509). The data were analysed using statistical methods
and content analysis.
The results of study I demonstrated that the theoretical framework and the
methods of cooperative learning provide useful tools for developing an academic
learning and teaching culture. The approach helps to create a benevolent learning
atmosphere. The cooperative learning culture used in the action research project
reflected the traditional academic learning culture and also caused a collision between
the two cultures. The results of study II indicated that, with the exception
of support from other students, the Open University students experienced their
teaching-learning environments on average more positively than the Bachelor’s
degree students. According to the Open University students, their own motivation
and interest was the most important factor that enhanced studying. Furthermore,
the most common factors delaying their studies were their life situation and a lack
of time. The sense of community and social relations mainly promoted studying.
Open University students experienced that they were supported by their teachers,
tutors, other students, the working community, family and hobbies. Interaction
was experienced as a characteristic of a good teaching situation.
Collaborative learning enhances learning through positive social interdependence,
sociocognitive conflict and emotional support between group members.
Furthermore, students become part of the community of experts and at the same
time their identity as experts develops. The research demonstrated that the methods
that make good use of communal resources are negotiation of shared goals
and rules, working in various small groups, emphasis on shared and individual
responsibilities and assessment of the product and the process of learning. In addition,
the challenge in collaborative learning is the ability to deal with the conflicts.
The resources of the academic community can be developed if the members of the
community develop, in addition to the communal working methods, their communal
sensitivity. In other words, they should have an understanding of social
psychological and sociological concepts that they can use for observing communal
Keywords: sense of community, cooperative learning, collaborative learning, Open
University, learning-teaching environment, approaches to learning and studying,
university pedagogy
Bidragets titel på inmatningsspråkA sense of community as a resource for developing university
Tryckta ISBN978-952-10-5947-6
Elektroniska ISBN978-952-10-5948-3
StatusPublicerad - 2010
MoE-publikationstypG4 Doktorsavhandling (monografi)


  • 516 Pedagogik

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