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20th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference

Creativity and Innovative Instructional Strategies: Their


Relationships to Students Approaches















Dr. Amy WP HAN (EdD)
Institute of Technical Education




Author for correspondence:
Amy WP HAN

Work Phone (International): +65 6411 1408
Home Phone (International): +65 9383 7588
Email: Amy_Han@ite.edu.sg




Running header: VTE, Learning approaches, Learning orientations, Authentic Learning,
Self-directed learning.



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20th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference



Creativity and Innovative Instructional Strategies: Their Relationships to Students
Approaches


Abstract

The Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) students in this study were presented
with two questionnaires, the Biggs Revised Study Process Questionnaire (R-SPQ-2F)
which differentiates between deep and surface approach to learning, and the Learning
Orientation scale which elicits whether students adopt a short-term, course-focus or long-
term learning orientation. Confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses were carried out
on the two scales respectively to check for validity and reliability. The results showed that
VTE students were largely using the deep learning approaches in the classrooms. The
study also showed deep approach to learning to correlate to course-focus and long-term
learning orientations and surface learning approach to correlate to short-term learning
orientation. Results from the study could provide VTE lecturers/teachers a better
understanding of their students learning approaches and learning orientations in relation
their instructional strategies. Implications for the implementation of authentic learning
and self-directed learning are also discussed.



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INTRODUCTION

In the recent years, creativity and innovation have been pushed to the forefront to address
a plethora of economic, social and political problems brought about by globalization.
Innovative thinking was cited as the key source of economic growth in the face of
intensive global competitions. To prepare youths for the challenges ahead, creative and
innovative pedagogical methods were introduced in education and training. There are also
widespread studies into creative and innovative pedagogical methods and these can be
seen in reputable research journals and on websites of national bodies responsible for
leading teaching and learning. The current study was conducted in a context where
teachers facilitate their students learning through self-directed plan-explore-practice-
perform learning strategies and extensive creative and innovative infrastructures were
implemented to promote authentic learning.

Creative and Innovative Teaching strategies
In general term, innovation is defined as adding something new to an existing product or
process (Badran, 2007). Creativity on the other hand, is expressed as the ability to make
something new, whether a thought or idea, an object, a product or a process, a work of art
or performance, or an interpretation (Morrison & Johnston, 2006).

The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably (Badran, 2007). Within the education
contexts, innovation and creativity are demonstrated in various forms. Innovation from
the engineering perspective means that more engineers are now expected to Conceive,
Design, Implement and Operate (CDIO) complex value-added engineering systems in a
modern team-based environment, the CDIO Initiative was mooted to train engineering
students to perform successfully his/her essential functions (Bankal, Berggren, Blom,
Crawley, Wiklud, & Ostlud, 2003). In the classroom contexts, the Problem Based
Learning (PBL) which was first pioneered in the health sciences, was later deployed as a
creative and innovative teaching method to engage students to solve problems in teams.
PBL, a pedagogical innovation, enhanced the use of metacognition and self-regulation by
using unstructured problems as a starting point to anchor the learning process (Tan,
2004). Innovative teaching methods are further fuelled by advancement in information
and communication technologies and one example is the pervasive use of elearning to
support face-to-face campus learning. The underlying assumption is that students are
responsible for their own learning process, and that students are considered to be
knowledge- and information-intensive workers rather than passive consumers of
information, and need to be facilitated as such (Sjoer, Herder, Bogman, Els, Wouter,
Sofia, Kruit, Peppen, Venn, & Verkroost,2003).

To foster creativity in learning, education institutions have also explored the use of
creative learning spaces to motivate their students to explore, experience and discover
(i.e. to be creative) (Jankowska & Atlay, 2008). Gibson (2010) argued that an
environment that support creative potential are likely to have adequate time for creative
thinking; rewarding creative ideas, thoughts and products; encouraging risk-taking;
allowing mistakes; imagining form various perspective; questioning assumptions
(Sternberg & Williams, 1996). However, Jankowska and Atlay, (2008) cautioned that
while the environment can serve as an excellent factor in alerting students, keeping them
on-board, and motivating them, it is the teaching styles, facilitation techniques and use of
various tasks to suit different learning styles that would develop the independent critical
thinking capacities in students. The issue is complex as instructional strategies using
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Student context:
* abilities
* prior knowledge, pre-entry
biases
* preferred ways of learning
* values, expectations,
motivation
Teaching context:
* course structure
* curriculum
* teaching methods
* assessment methods
Desirable learning outcomes:
* deep learning
* independent learning
* critical thinking
* lifelong learning
attributes
Task
Processing
Approaches to learning
- deep
- surface
restricted choices, conforming pressures, evaluation, frequent failures and rote learning
were found to easily destroy creativity in any educational setting (Gibson, 2010).


Students Learning Approaches
Research on teaching and process outcomes came into focus when Duncan and Biddle
(1974) proposed the Presage-Process-Product classroom teaching model. The model was
later elaborated and generalized in the teaching and learning system developed by Biggs
(1993). Earlier, Biggs (1976) posed that educational theory has to be generated bottom-
up, focusing on contextual differences rather than within-child factors. Following this,
Biggs (1993) created his 3P model to represent the system of teaching and learning (see
Figure 1).

In the 3P model, Presage factors are those that are in place before the learning takes
place. Process factors are those in play as the learning takes place. Product factors are
present at the completion of a learning cycle.

Presage is further divided into two kinds of factors. The first relates to students personal
characteristics, termed hard factors. These are relatively difficult to change, especially
when compared to soft factors such as students orientations to learning. The second
kind of factor relates to teaching variables such as teachers characteristics, the
curriculum, the assessments, and the schools. The hard factors interact with the soft
factors within contexts to determine students approaches to learning.











Figure 1. The Biggs 3P Model of Learning
Source: Adapted from (Biggs, Kember, & Leung. 2001, p.136)

Biggs posited that the ways in which students approach learning tasks will impact
significantly the learning outcomes they achieve (Biggs, 1987, 1992). Further, Biggs,
Kember, & Leung (2001) added that both teachers and students are jointly responsible for
the learning outcomes. The former is responsible for structuring the enabling conditions
and the latter for enabling them. Biggs et al. (2001) developed the R-SPQ-2F, for teachers
to evaluate the outcomes of the learning/teaching environment. The instrument can elicit
three approaches: deep, surface and achieving, with achieving motive and strategy
subscales that can align on both surface and deep factors.
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The instrument differentiates between deep approach, surface approach with four
subscales, namely deep motives, deep strategy, surface motive and surface strategy.
Students who adopt a surface approach are more likely to attempt to engage superficially
with their learning tasks and to rote-learn where possible for assessment purposes. Those
who adopt a deep approach are more likely to engage with the intention of understanding
or seeking meaning.
The R-SPQ-2F has also been validated empirically across a diverse range of samples
(Biggs et al., 2001), and used by researchers in various Asian cultures (e.g., Goh, 2005;
Siddiqui, 2006; Phan & Deo; 2008). Relevant to this study is that this instrument was
recommended for use by teachers to monitor their teaching as a follow-up to their
implementation of some innovation in teaching or assessment. Learning approaches and
learning styles are sometimes used inter-changeably but in this study, learning approach
is preferred as it is a general term to characterize learning behavior of students. Learning
style is usually referred to as cognitive styles (Stavenga de Jong, Wierstra and
Hermanussen, 2006).

Previous studies have shown that deep approaches to learning are related to higher quality
learning outcomes (Marton & Siilj, 1997; Ramsden, 1992; Trigwell, Prossers &
Waterhouse, 1999). However, Biggs et al. (2001) also indicated that student might be
taking a strategic decision to adopt a surface approach to see him/her through this task of
doing well in examination through memorization. Furthermore, more recently,
ODonoghue and Clarke (2010) found that surface approach is not necessary undesirable.
They pointed to studies by Watkins (2000) into Chinese learners ways of using repetition
to deepening understanding and in discovering new meaning. This is unlike Western
students who tended to use repetition to check that they had really remembered
something. Therefore, the deep and surface approaches to learning have to be interpreted
with respect to the contexts or intended purposes. Also, when used with other
instruments, could elicit the reasons behind the adoption of deep/surface learning
approach under the specific context.

Studies into Students Learning Approaches
There are relatively few studies that reported VTE students learning approaches under
different learning contexts. One of such study was conducted by Smith (2001) who
looked into the differences in learning preferences of TAFE students and university
students, showed similarity in some areas and differences in others. As expected, Smith
pointed out that the differences were likely due to the teaching contexts, the teaching
style, assessments and contents that the two groups have to face. The study suggested that
TAFE students are likely to have a stronger preference for numeric content, and content
relating to equipment and processes, presented through the non-verbal means of visual
display and direct experience.

In another study that focused on the differences in teaching contexts, Stavenga de Jong et
al.(2006) studied the learning approaches of secondary vocational students in a Dutch
school across two contexts: school-based and work-based learning. The study used the
Inventory of Learning Styles for Senior Secondary Vocation Education for the school-
based context and the Questionnaire Practice Oriented Learning in Secondary Vocation
Education for the work-based context. The study identified different competencies that
appeal to different contexts. The study pointed out that school-based learning required
information to be memorized whereas work-based learning required gathering of
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experiential knowledge. The study showed no strong correlation between the
competencies and suggested that learning orientations were context-dependent.

A related study on teaching style was one carried out by Trigwell et al.(1999), based on
previous studies that showed that there were correlations between students deep learning
approaches and higher quality of learning outcomes. Trigwell et al. took a quantitative
approach to compare university teachers approaches to teaching and their students
approaches to learning. The study showed that teachers who reported their focus as that of
transmitting facts, their students were more likely to adopt a surface approach to learning.
However, teachers who encouraged self-directed learning and problem-solving and
allocated time for discussions, their students were more likely to adopt a deep approach to
learning. The study suggested addressing aspects of learning environment that students
described to be related to their approaches to improve the quality of learning.

In another study that addressed the use of e-learning, the ways the contents were
presented to students were found by Ellis, Ginns and Piggott (2009) to affect the way
students approach their studies. The study identified e-teaching, design, workload and
interactivity as contributing factors into meaning aspects of e-learning when used to
support face-to-face campus-based learning. Deep approach to learning was found to be
significantly related to e-teaching and interactivity. The study also suggested that students
who have negative perception of these factors tended to approach the course in a
comparatively poor way and hence performed poorly online.

The Plan-Explore-Practice-Perform Instructional Strategies
In response to the changing needs of school leavers and the global economy, vocational
education has to address the need to train their students to go beyond learning technical
skills and knowledge (Law, 2005). Students have also to acquire employability skills and
value the need for life-long learning. It is for that matters that a new pedagogic model
involving planning, exploring, practicing and performing, also referred to as the PEPP
model was introduced in the teaching of vocational and technical education in Singapore.
Using an interactive and process-based approach, the teachers facilitate while students
engage in self-directed learning. In essence, after receiving the goals and standards for the
problems from the teacher, the students are expected to go about planning the work to be
done; explores the information required; practices what he/she has learned; and finally
performs with competence the knowledge and skills that he/she has mastered. Through
this pedagogic approach, the student acquires three key competencies, namely, technical,
methodological and social. Separately, the institution has also over the last 20 years rolled
out numerous creative and innovative strategies to achieve transformation aimed at
building a world-class vocational and technical education institution.

AIMS OF RESEARCH

This study builds on the substantial body of research that differences in learning
approaches can be attributed to a range of factors such as teaching contexts, the teaching
styles, assessments and contents that students have to face. Studies showed positive
correlations of teachers teaching approach to students learning approaches; students
approached learning differently under different contexts; and different groups of students
(vocational verses university) have different learning preferences. Some studies were
conducted on university students (Trigwell et al., 1999 & Ellis et al., 2009) and relatively
fewer studies involved VTE students. As pointed out by Smith (2001), VTE students
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showed different learning preferences and are likely to display different learning
approaches. Therefore, the current study aims to add to research on how VTE students
approach their learning and how these are related to the way they view their learning in
classroom contexts where extensive creative and innovative instructional strategies were
widely promoted.

The aims of this study are:

What are students learning approaches as measured by the Biggs R-SPQ-2F?
What dimensions characterize students learning orientations under classroom
contexts?
To what extent are learning approaches related to VTE students learning
orientations?

METHODOLOGY

A sample of about 150 VTE students enrolled in VTE courses in Singapore were invited
to participate in this pilot study. The students were enrolled in electronic engineering,
information technology, security system integration and network security courses. All
these courses were offered by the School of Electronics and Infocomm under the VTE
Institution. All students have completed at least one year of study at the college.

The students were presented questionnaires that consisted of 20 items from the revised
Biggs R-SPQ-2F and 13 items that were developed by the researcher. The possible
responses are 1 to 5 on Likert scales. With 1 to mean never or only rarely true of me
and 5 to mean always or almost always true of me. The students were approached to
complete the questionnaire as a class. As participation in the study was not compulsory,
13 uncompleted questionnaires were discarded.

All participants were informed of the purposes of the study. Students were also informed
that their participation in this research was entirely voluntary, and that they could
withdraw from the research without prejudice at any time. Except for the researcher, no-
one will have access to the individual data collected.

RESULTS

The dataset was checked for departure from normality in the item distribution. The degree
of skewness and kurtosis were generally within one standard deviation from the mean.
The correlations between all items were also examined for multivariate and univariate
outliers.

On the 20 items Biggs R-SPQ-2F (see Table 1), confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) and
reliability analysis were conducted. Table 2 shows the several indices considered in
assessing model fit. A chi-square/df ratio larger than 2 indicates an inadequate fit
(Byrne,1989). The chi-square/df ratio values lower than 2 are widely considered to
represent a minimally plausible model (Byrne,1991). Furthermore, one absolute fit index
(the Standardized Root Mean Residual, SRMR) and two incremental fit indices (the Non-
Normed Fit Index, NNFI, and the Comparative Fit Index, CFI) are also presented for each
model. In general, the smaller the SRMR, the better is the fit. Furthermore, greater than
.90 for NNFI and CFI are deemed to indicate adequate model fit (e.g. Bryne, 1989).
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Table 1:Statements in the Biggs R-SPQ-2F
Label* Statements
DM1 I find that at times studying gives me a feeling of deep personal satisfaction.
DS2
I find that I have to do enough work on a topic so that I can form my own
conclusions before I am satisfied.
SM3 My aim is to pass the course while doing as little work as possible.
SS4 I only study seriously what is given out in class or in the course outlines.
DM5 I feel that virtually any topic can be highly interesting once I get into it.
DS6
I find most new topics interesting and often spend extra time trying to obtain
more information about them.
SM7 I do not find my course very interesting so I keep my work to the minimum.
SS8
I learn some things by rote, going over and over them until I know them by
heart even if I do not understand them.
DM9
I find that studying academic topics can at times be as exciting as a good novel
or movie.
DS10 I test myself on important topics until I understand them completely.
SM11
I find I can get by in most assessments by memorising key sections rather than
trying to understand them.
SS12
I generally restrict my study to what is specifically set as I think it is
unnecessary to do anything extra.
DM13 I work hard at my studies because I find the material interesting.
DS14
I spend a lot of my free time finding out more about interesting topics which
have been discussed in different classes.
SM15
I find it is not helpful to study topics in depth. It confuses and wastes time,
when all you need is a passing acquaintance with topics.
SS16
I believe lecturers shouldn't expect students to spend significant amounts of
time studying material everyone knows won't be examined.
DM17 I come to most classes with questions in mind that I want answering.
DS18
I make a point of looking at most of the suggested readings that go with the
lectures.
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SM19 I see no point in learning material which is not likely to be in the examination.
SS20
I find the best way to pass examinations is to try to remember answers to likely
questions.
* SS=surface strategy; SM=surface motive; DS=deep strategy; DM=deep motive

Table 2. Fit Indices for three CFA Models on the Biggs R-SPQ-2F
Model
2
df
2
/df
SRMR
<.05
NNFI
>.95
CFI
.>.95
One-factor 361.34* 170 2.12 .11 .64 .68
Two-factor 273.74* 169 1.62 .10 .80 .83
Four-factor 242.34* 164 1.48 .09 .85 .87
*significant at the 0.01 level

The results of the CFA models are shown in Table 2.The chi square (
2
)

reported a
significant p value, indicating that the data did not fit the model well at first glance. As
2
is sensitive to sample size and deviation from normality, other fit indices were
considered. As expected, one-factor model is not acceptable as all its indices are out of
acceptable ranges. The four-factor model seems to have a better fit for the indices as
compared to the two-factor model. However, the two-factor model has a more significant
reduction in chi-square
2
(1) value of 87.6 as compared to the four-factor model of

2
(5) value of 31.4. Furthermore, factor loadings for the four-factor model were found to
be not significant for the Surface Strategy scale at p equals to 0.05 indicating that the
four-factor model is not optimal.

The Cronbach alphas values were also computed (see Table 3). The Cronbach alphas
values for the Surface Motive and Surface Strategy scales are too low to render the scales
to be reliable. Although the Surface Approach scale of the two-factor model is below the
preferred cut-off of at least 0.7, in broad term the outcomes of the CFA supported the
two-factor (Deep approach and Surface approach), rather than the four-factor (Deep
Motive, Deep Strategy, Surface Motive, Surface Strategy) and would be used for
subsequent analyses. The standardized parameter estimates of the two-factor structure are
shown in Figure 2.
Table 3: Mean scale scores, standard deviations, number of items and Cronbachs alpha
of the Biggs R-SPQ-2F
Model Scale Mean
scale
score
SD
N
items
Cronbachs

Four-factor Deep Motive (DM) 3.12 .68 5 .73
Deep Strategy (DS) 3.06 .65 5 .71
Surface Motive (SM) 2.67 .68 5 .58
Surface Strategy (SS) 3.10 .57 5 .38
Two-factor Deep Approach 3.09 .63 10 .85
Surface Approach 2.89 .54 10 .66


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Note: ** significant at the 0.05 level

Figure 2. Factor structure of the two-factor R-SPQ-2F

Exploratory factor analyses were conducted on the 13 items that referred to students
learning modes in classes (see Table 4). There were four factors with eigenvalue greater
than 1 and scree plot showed two to three factors, after a varimax rotation. An exploratory
maximum likelihood factor analysis for two factors showed a bad fit, 2= 113.25 and df =
53 and p = .000 and a better fit was found for three factors, 2= 76.52 and df = 42 and p =
.001. The three factors also accounted for 51 percentage of the total variances.

A closer examination of the learning modes within the three factors showed that in the
first factor, students responses showed that they were inclined to give up or quit when
work seemed difficult. They also appeared to be dependent on their lecturers to provide
immediate help to see them through their studies. Therefore, this first factor elicited a
learning orientation that showed students taking a short-term (ST) view of their learning.
The second factor has learning modes where students were focused on passing the exams
SM7

SM3

SS4

SS8

SM11

SS12

SM15

SS16

SM19

SS20

DM5
DS2
DM1
DS6
DM9
DS10
DM13
DS14
DM17
DS18

Deep
Surface
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and doing well for their courses. Therefore this second factor elicited a learning
orientation that showed students to focus on their courses. Therefore, the second factor is
called Course-Focus (CF). The last factor has four learning modes that elicited students
willingness to plan their time; explore for ideas/ competitions; practice on their own to
deliver targets and perform through projects/competitions. The learning modes are similar
to the learning strategies that are promoted through the PEPP model. Students who
adopted these learning modes are likely to be taking a long term view of their learning.
Therefore, this factor is named Long-term (LT) in this study. The learning modes under
the three factors are listed in Table 4.

Table 4: Learning Orientations and Learning Modes under Classroom contexts

Learning
Orientation
Learning Modes
Short-
term (ST)
ST1: I often feel so lazy or bored when I study for this class and I quit
before I finish what I planned to do.
ST2: I depend on my lecturer to guide me closely in project work.

ST3 I wait for my lecturer to give me the answers to the projects that
he/she gives us.
ST4: When course work/ assignment is difficult, I either give up or only do
the easy parts.
ST5: I just want to pass the course, I do not know why I am studying in
this course.
Course-
Focus (CF)
CF1: I prefer lecturers to stick to topics that are to be covered in the exams.
CF2: When course work/ assignment is difficult I work hard to complete it
even if I don't like what we are doing.
CF3: I want to do well in this course because it is important to show my
ability to my family, friends, employer, or others.
CF4: I try to change the way I study in order to fit the course requirements
and the instructor's teaching style.
Long- term
(LT)
LT1: I make good use of the time allocated for project work.
LT2: I prefer lecturers who talk to us about project/ competition.
LT3: I can work on my own to deliver the target set by the lecturers in
project work
LT4: I search the Internet extensively for ideas and examples before I start
a project.

The correlations of the learning approaches, deep approach and surface approach
identified through Biggs R-SPQ-2F, and the three learning orientations using researcher
self-developed are as shown in Table 5.


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Table 5: Correlations of Learning approaches and Learning Orientations
Deep
Approach
Surface
Approach Short-term
Course-
Focus Long-term
Deep Approach 1


Surface
Approach
-.05 1


Short-term -.18
*
.53
**
1


Course-Focus .43** .09 -.06 1
Long-term .47
**
0.12 -.13 .26** 1
*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).




DISCUSSION

The confirmatory factor analyses showed VTE students approaches to learning in the
classrooms are better characterized by two-factor, deep approach or surface approach. As
Biggs et al.(2001) pointed out that in a teaching/learning environments, the role of the
achieving-related scales is not as evident as those of deep and surface scales.
Furthermore, achieving strategy which refers to how the student organises when and
where the task will be engaged, and for how long, may not be evident within the VTE
classroom contexts. Law (2005) also pointed out that VTE instructional strategies are
largely teachers facilitated and process-based and Smith (2001) described TAFE students
learning preference as self-directed-dependent because knowledge of the details of the
work and its requirements are mostly made known to them.

Separately, this analysis indicated a significantly higher level of deep versus surface
approaches, M
DEEP
= 3.09, SD
DEEP
= 0.63, M
SURFACE
= 2.89, SD
SURFACE
= 0.54,
respectively. The results showed that most students reported making greater use of deep
than surface learning approaches in their classroom contexts. In one study carried out by
Han (2010) on VTE students from the same institution, the students were also found to
have largely applied deep learning approaches in their work attachment contexts. The
results from these two studies seem to indicate that VTE students from this institution are
largely applying deep approach to learning.

This study also showed that students learning modes could be factored into three
learning orientations: short-term, course-focus and long-term. The learning orientations
are like lenses that the students wear, which can limit or extent their views of their on-
going learning engagement. Students who take a short-term view are likely to be bored,
dependent on lecturers, give up or only do the easy parts and not sure of why they
embark on the course. Students who are course-focus are likely to stick to topics, work
hard to complete the assignments, aim to complete the course and even showed
willingness to adjust their learning styles to suit the teaching styles. These students are
likely to work on achieving results in their courses. Finally students who take a long-term
view of their studies are likely to be self-directed and approach learning in a systematic
matter. This last group of students is likely to be actively applying the Plan-Explore-
Practice-Perform pedagogic model that is promoted by the VTE institution.

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As expected, this study shows that deep learning has positive significant correlations with
course-focus and long-term learning orientations but negative significant correlation with
short-term learning orientation. This study also showed that students who have surface
approach to learning are also likely to have short-term learning orientation. This is also
the group who are likely to need more teachers attention. One way to motivate students
to move from short-term towards course-focus learning orientation is to let students see
the value of their skills and knowledge. In this regard, educational institutions usually
collaborate with companies to engage students in pre-graduation work experiences such
as work-attachments or cooperative education where students can apply their skills and
knowledge in authentic work situations. Increasingly, educational institutions are also
involving their students in authentic learning within the classrooms. Lombardi (2007)
pointed out that for decades, authentic learning was too difficult and sometime too
expensive to implement. However, with the emergence of new technologies, authentic
environments can now be constructed through communication, visualization and
simulation solutions. Authentic learning is about creating an environment with its real-
world, complex problems and their solutions through role-playing exercises, problem-
based activities, case studies and participation in virtual communities. In one study
conducted by Choo (2007), authentic learning was supported with information and
communication tools for the learning of a Lifeskills module (Career Development and
Planning) for the same vocational institute where this study was conducted and it was
found to yield positive results for both students and teachers/lecturers. While studies like
these have shown positive results on the use of authentic learning for the institute, more
need to be done to promote the use of authentic learning as an instructional strategy
within the classrooms.

IMPLICATIONS

While the results from this study showed the correlations between instructional strategies
and students learning approaches in VTE contexts, these need to be interpreted with
some cautions. The sample size was not large and only a limited field of study
(Electronics and Infocomm) was included. The researcher developed learning orientation
scale is still in the early stage of development and is expected to be improved with further
studies.

This study showed significantly more students taking a deep approach rather than surface
approach to their studies. The studies also showed students to have three possible learning
orientations: short-term, course-focus or long-term. The results showed those taking
short- term view of the studies are likely to take a surface approach to learning. The study
also showed that students who take a course-focus or long-term view of their studies are
likely to be those who engage in self-directed learning and approach learning in a
systematic matter. The study argued that students with surface approach and short-term
learning orientation will need to see values in completing their courses. Overall, to
improve the quality of learning outcomes, this study suggests:

More extensive use of authentic learning strategies to engage students in real-
world problem solving so that they can see values in acquiring skills and
knowledge through their courses;

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Promote the use of learning pedagogic model such as the Plan-Explore-Practice-
Perform model so that VTE students has a systematic way to engage in self-
directed learning; and

Further studies have to be carried out on the learning orientation scale so that like
the Biggs R-SPQ-2F, VTE lecturers/teachers can have tools to understand how
students view their learning, particularly after implementation of any creative and
innovative instructional strategies.


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