J. Today’s Ideas - Tomorrow’s Technol.

In Search of Intellectual Stimulation: Understanding the Relationship Between Motivation, Deep Learning and Stimulation in the Higher Education Classroom

Sandeep Chowdhry, Renata Osowska

KEYWORDS

Intellectual stimulation, problem based learning, Active learning, Constructivism, Academic staff development

PUBLISHED DATE June 2017
PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2017. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu.in/publications
ABSTRACT

One of the key educational notions measured in the National Student Survey (NSS) is intellectual stimulation. This study aimed to find out Higher Education (HE) engineering students’ views of intellectual stimulation with a focus on its measurement and supporting its increase within the classroom environment. A quantitative questionnaire acted as a data gathering instrument. The sample comprised 128 students from Edinburgh Napier University (ENU), Scotland. The survey findings showed a positive correlation and positive agreement between the intellectual stimulation (IS), intrinsic motivation (IM) and deep learning approach (DLA) scales. The students’ feedback suggests that implementation of the new intellectual scale based teaching and learning strategy is useful in intellectually stimulated the students and encouraged them to adopt deep learning approach. The findings suggest the design of an intellectually stimulating environment in HE classroom, should consider students’ learning styles, challenge students, allow the provision of timely feedback and provide opportunities to encourage independent thought. Further, the research suggests, the studied institution should encourage staff to consider the intellectual stimulation scale when constructively aligning learning and teaching with an assessment.

INTRODUCTION

Intellectual stimulation is one of the criteria used in the National Student Survey (NSS) in the UK. It is an influential source of public information about higher education and gives students a powerful collective voice to help shape the future of their course and their university or college. Thus, supporting intellectual stimulation of students has become a major concern to Edinburgh Napier University’s undergraduate modules (Edinburgh Napier University, 2013). For instance, in the School of Engineering, there is a steady decrease in the students’ positive response to the question, ‘The course is intellectually stimulating’ (NSS result 2013-88%, NSS result 2014- 86%, NSS result 2015- 83% and NSS result 2016- 83%).While the NSS survey takes place each year with only final year students, the-University have been trying to increase their scores in the inquiry by finding out, through student feedback on every module taught, what issues students have in each area of their studies earlier in their programme.

Terms such as deep learning approach and intrinsic motivation are well understood among the academics. The aim of this paper is to cast some light into the educator’s understanding of intellectual stimulation as a criterion applied for module evaluation with the deep learning approach and intrinsic motivation. In particular, the current study has three objectives: 1) to determine the relationship between the students’ perceptions on intrinsic motivation, intellectual stimulation and deep learning approach, 2) to find out what intervention strategies lecturers can put in place to support students feeling ‘intellectually stimulated’, 3) assess the effectiveness of the new proposed teaching and learning strategy, 4) propose recommendation for using ‘intellectual stimulation’ as an evaluation criterion for teaching and learning in higher education.

Page(s) 9–29
URL http://dspace.chitkara.edu.in/jspui/bitstream/123456789/4/1/jotitt.2017.51001.pdf
ISSN Print : 2321-3906, Online : 2321-7146
DOI 10.15415/jotitt.2017.51001
CONCLUSION

The aim of this study was to investigate the intellectual stimulation, intrinsic motivation and deep learning approach relative to students’ perception. In particular, the current study had three objectives: 1) to determine the relationship between the students’ perceptions on intrinsic motivation, intellectual stimulation and deep learning approach, 2) to find out what intervention strategies lecturers can put in place to support students feeling ‘intellectually stimulated’, 3) propose recommendation for using ‘intellectual stimulation’ as an evaluation criterion for teaching and learning in higher education institutions and the engineering classroom. The study has found a statistically significant, weak positive correlation between the IS and IM scales. The IM3 element is in positive agreement with CS1, CS2, EIT1 and EIT2 elements of the IS scale. Second, there is a statistically significant, moderate positive correlation between IS and DLA scales. Except ITS2 and DLA9, all the elements of IS and IM scales are in positive agreement with each other. Third, the students feedback suggests that implementation of the new intellectual scale based teaching and learning strategy is useful in intellectually stimulated the students and helped them to actively participate in the learning, to do self-directed learning, perform critically analysis and in adopting deep learning approach in understanding the module content, and in construction of new knowledge.

The main findings therefore are, to intellectually stimulate the students, the learning activities should encourage them to engage in deep learning to ensure that they really know the material well. The course content should challenge the students, helping them to reflect deeply upon the concepts taught in the HE class and draw their own conclusions about the course content. In doing so, it will also intrinsically motivate the students and provide them with an opportunity to understand the course content thoroughly. Therefore, the lecturers should design the learning activities that facilitate a challenging learning environment motivating students to, develop SDL skills, think deeply, construct new knowledge and engage in the process of self-evaluation. By acknowledging students learning styles, interactive teaching methods could encourage students’ active participation in the learning. Furthermore, lecturers should provide timely feedback to the students.

The research limits to the generalisability of this study to the modules across the university are small sample size, lack of control groups and variables present with intellectually stimulated and non-stimulated learning. However, the results of the study will be transferable for the different departments across the university in understanding the intellectual stimulation scale. Similarly, it will further help in improving the teaching and learning practice in the university.

Collection of information on different elements of the intellectual stimulation scale may help to find out the feasibility of using the intellectual stimulation scale as an evaluation criteria for teaching and learning in higher education institution

It implies that the educational institutions may make a strategy to systematically ingrain the idea of IS scale in its courses. For instance, spreading awareness among the academic staff about how to use the IS scale to improve the students learning experience. The new lecturer’s induction training programme can also incorporate information on using IS scale to enhance the students learning experience. The departmental quality committees may encourage staff to consider the IS scale while designing and changing the module descriptors. The Students’ union could also contribute by organising events to make students familiar with the intellectual stimulation scale.

A suggested further research is to compare the effect of setting in IST, CS and EIT elements of intellectual stimulation scale in different modules in the School of Engineering.

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