Why digitising student centred learning is important - Malaysia study

New research indicates that a shift is required toward student centred learning to increase employability.

By AvantiKumar
Nov. 18, 2016

Canvas Education survey 

Photo - Education survey


A new research study of Malaysian university students suggests that a shift is required toward student centred learning to better prepare for employment.

Some 500 undergraduates were surveyed from both public and private universities, which noted the importance of student centred learning among Malaysian university students.

Fifty-two (52) percent of Malaysian university students believed their universities were providing them with modern technology and teaching to deliver a personalised learning experience. A further 77 percent of undergraduates say that the teaching methods experienced at university are more in tune with their learning styles than those experienced at school.

However, while the majority of Malaysian undergraduates experienced personalised learning at university, only 25 percent feel prepared for work, according to the survey.

As 65 percent of students said their university courses played a vital role in increasing their chances of employment, there was a need to enhance student centred learning, said Troy Martin, director of APAC for Canvas by Instructure, which commissioned the study carried out by Atomic Market Research in October 2016.

Martin confirmed the top findings. "Our research suggests that whilst Malaysian Universities have a good understanding of the importance of delivering personalised learning, only 25 percent of students say they are prepared for employment. Universities still have some opportunities in terms of delivering education experiences that prepare students for the world of work."
Onus on Malaysian universities

The onus was on Malaysian universities to empower students with the necessary skills and tools they need to adapt to today's workforce upon graduation, he said.

 With only 25 percent of students saying that university courses are teaching them the skills for employment, there is pressure from undergraduates to ensure their chances of employability are maximised upon graduation, said Martin. It matters so much that 33 percent would pay extra to be certain their course was relevant to employers.
 "The increase in focus on employment as a measurement of education success, is driving student centred learning in education across the globe," he said. "Because learning at school can be highly-structured and heavily teacher-directed, there is a dichotomy of experience when students enter the workforce. The world outside of school requires students to be able to self-direct their work in low-structured environments that seasoned experts thrive in."
Martin noted that Malaysian universities have already started to move towards student centred learning through the provision of modern learning tools.

The survey reported that 42 percent of students said they have fast broadband access to support video interaction with tutors, and 41 percent have access to virtual learning environments (VLE), which enable collaborative problem solving and self-directed learning, all important in forming a student centred learning environment.

A further 58 percent of students said their universities enabled them to collaborate with potential employers.

 "We are encouraged that fundamentally, personalised learning is at the core for most university students in Malaysia, but as Malaysia moves toward its goal of being a developed nation by 2020, providing basic technology and internet access will no longer be sufficient to enable student centred learning," Martin said. "We aim to enable student centred learning, allowing teachers to deliver problem solving, and outcome based self-directed learning, which increases student autonomy over time, skills that are imperative as each student prepares for today's workforce."