Learning Approaches and Learning Outcomes of the English University Curriculum : A Comparative Case of Cambodia and Thailand
Abstract: The access to higher education has been massively expanding which has impacted on quality of education, assessment system, learning environment, teaching and learning approaches at classroom level. In encountering with the massification, Cambodian and Thai governments are struggling to provide students with excellent academic performance and employable graduates in the competitive labor market of today. English language was one of the key tools for the students to acquire knowledge and skills for the national, regional and international marketplace. This research aims to provide comparative understanding of how undergraduates learn and achieve their academic outcomes through English curriculum in the contexts of Cambodia and Thailand. The objectives of the study are to compare levels, relationships and predictability of learning approaches and learning outcomes achieved by the undergraduate students. The total samples of 186 key informants were the undergraduate students from Cambodia (n=97) and Thailand (n=89) who enrolled in year 3, 4 and fresh graduates of English major in two respective universities. The data collection method was gathered through a self-rating online survey employing RASI and CEQ questionnaires to measure the perceptions. The descriptive data, correlation coefficients, and multiple linear regression were used for the comparative data analysis. The study yielded different levels of learning approaches and similar degrees of learning outcomes in the two groups. The students from Cambodia gained higher level of utilizing deep approach to learning (M=3.79) and they were found to achieve higher GPA on average (67%). The finding not only indicated similar significant relationships (p<.05) between the models in each group but also showed different levels of influences on students’ learning achievement. The strongest predictor of learning outcomes (R2=.34) was explained by deep approach to learning for Cambodian group whereas the learning outcomes for Thai group (R2=.47) were predicted by strategic and deep approaches to learning. The study also suggested that teachers and relevant educational actors encourage students to use deep and strategic approaches while demotivating surface approach to learning in order for the students to achieve better learning outcomes both qualitatively and quantitatively so that they acquire competitive qualification for their future career goals.
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