Browsing by Subject "learning environment"

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  • Lindholm, Heidi (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    The purpose of this study is to explore learning experiences of sixth grade students in the Me & MyCity learning environment. The research task is approached through the criteria of meaningful learning, which have been used as a theoretical framework in a Finnish learning environment study, among others. Previous research has shown that criteria of meaningful learning can be found in different kinds of learning environments. The study focuses on what working life skills the students learn in the Me & MyCity working life and society simulation. Very little research has been conducted on Me & MyCity, so the study is much needed. Research on learning environments shows that understanding and studying the usefulness of different learning environments is necessary, since there are few studies available on the topic. The goal of this study is to generate new information about the Me & MyCity learning environment, and also about which working life skills it can help students learn. The results of this study can also be used, for example, in the development of Me & MyCity. The study was carried out as a case study. The data consists of thematic interviews of a class of students and a teacher from a school in Vantaa who visited Me & MyCity in the spring of 2016, and papers the students wrote (two per each student). Altogether there were thematic interviews of 19 students, 38 papers, and one thematic interview of a teacher. The data was analyzed deductively, using the criteria of meaningful learning and a framework of working life skills that was compiled for this study. The results show that all criteria of meaningful learning can be found in Me & MyCity. However, based on the research data, the criterion of constructive learning was fulfilled only to a small extent, so the learning environment of Me & MyCity could be developed to support students' reflection of their own learning more, for example. There is variation in how working life skills are learnt in Me & MyCity. According to the results, some working life skills were not learnt at all. These results can be applied, among other things, in the pedagogical material of Me & MyCity, and its development. The results can also be put to use in ordinary school teaching to consider how school work can support students in learning working life skills and how, for example, an authentic learning environment that supports learning can be built in a school environment. The results can also be applied to building a good learning environment that supports the learning of other skills and information as well.
  • Almgren, Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Aims. The usage of wild edible wild plants is trendy nowadays, affordable, healthy and ecological. This study focuses on how adult students during a course on wildedible plants of Helsingin työväenopisto experienced the course. The aim of the study is to collect information on what kind of expectations and learning experiences the participating students had. Methodology. This thesis is a case study. Empirical data were obtained by thematic interviews of the eight participants of the course. Additional data were collected by questionnaires which were handed out before and after the edible wild plants course. Results and conclusions. The edible wild plants course has a strong emphasis on co-operative, social and experiential learning, and it also provides the students with strong theoretical knowledge. The expectations and experiences of the course par-ticipants were partly similar to those of the course planner/researcher. The course participants had different kinds of learning objectives. Some of the course partici-pants took part with the aim to get new ideas for their daily cookery. Some of the participants wanted to learn how to recognise eatable plants in the wild. The learning objectives were fulfilled during the course. The use of edible wild plants in food preparation was regarded as a relatively easy and ecological way to diversify one’s diet. The participants’ understanding of their immediate surroundings improved and the interest in the use of ecological food increased. Ecosocial knowledge of course participants increased during the course. The course participants thought their friends and family how to use eatable plants. Some of the course participants want-ed to learn more about the subject after the course. Courses of wild edible plants are popular. The popularity of that type of courses are based partially on experiental learning in the woods.
  • Närhi, Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2023)
    The use of virtual reality learning environments is rapidly expanding in various disciplines. However, there are only a few comparative studies in education. This thesis explores the effectiveness of a virtual reality (VR) and a physical learning environment on students’ learning outcomes and motivation by comparing the virtual reality and the physical learning environment during one day of studies. The participants were fourth-year mechanical engineering bachelor students (N = 14) at a university of applied sciences in Finland. The intervention was implemented as part of the course module, where students learned the structure and the functioning of the harvester head engine, which was part of a logging machine. A quasi-experimental design was set up, and in the morning, one-half of the students started their studies in virtual reality and the other half in the physical learning environment. In the afternoon, student groups switched learning environments. Motivation and learning outcomes were measured by pre-test and post-test questionnaires. Additionally, students’ learning outcomes were measured by completed study tasks during the interventions and by observing. The teacher assessed the data related to learning as grades. The one-way repeated-measures ANOVA was conducted to analyse the effectiveness of the learning environments on motivation and learning outcomes. The development of learning outcomes was statistically significant (p < .00) in both learning environments during the morning and the afternoon. No difference was observed between the learning outcomes gained in the two learning environments. There was an interaction (p < .01) between intrinsic motivation and learning environments in the morning. While in the afternoon, intrinsic motivation developed positively (p < .01) in both environments. The results suggest that studying in two different learning environments maintains interest and helps to achieve significant learning outcomes during the one-day studies. When studying began in a physical learning environment, intrinsic motivation developed positively throughout the day.
  • Järvinen, Jussi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Aims. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of students' achievement goal orientations on their perceptions of error climate in the mathematics classroom. Achievement goal orientations refer to relatively stable tendencies to favor certain goals and outcomes in achievement-related situations. Five orientations were included in this study: Mastery-intrinsic refers to a focus on learning, mastery-extrinsic to striving for absolute success, performance-approach to the aim of relative success, performance-avoidance to a focus on avoiding mistakes, and work-avoidance to the aim of minimizing effort. Previous studies suggest that achievement goal orientations affect the way students perceive and evaluate their learning environment, as well as how they respond to errors. Different combinations of orientations (i.e., achievement goal orientation profiles) have also been linked to distinct outcomes. This work examines the role students' achievement goal orientation profiles have in their perceptions of error climate, that is, practices and discourses related to dealing with errors in their classroom. This holds importance for educational research and practice, as error climate has been linked to the adaptivity of students' reactions to their mistakes. Methods. 169 students (aged 13–14) from four secondary schools completed an electronic questionnaire during their school day about their achievement goal orientations and perceptions of error climate in the mathematics classroom. Five distinct achievement goal orientation profiles were identified using SPSS TwoStep cluster analysis: mastery-oriented, success-oriented, indifferent, performance-and-avoidance oriented, and avoidance-oriented. The mean differences between the groups in perceptions of error climate were analyzed using ANOVA. Results and conclusions. As expected, the mastery- and success-oriented students perceived the error climate more positively in comparison to both performance-and-avoidance- and avoidance-oriented students. Indifferent students did not differ significantly from other groups. These findings highlight the significance of students' motivational mindsets on their perceptions of the learning environment and practices related to error climate. These differences should be recognized and taken into account when designing instructional practices, in order to ensure a safe and non-judgmental environment, where students with different goals and needs can learn from their mistakes.
  • Myllyntaus, Oona (2022)
    This article focuses on public art, including the art on display in formal learning environments as part of teaching. It examines the views of visual arts teachers on public art in educational facilities and the use of it in teaching primary, secondary, and tertiary education in the 2010s. In the teachers’ questionnaire completed in 2017–2018, the visual arts teachers (n=45) defined public art as a cultural resource, although they also perceived it as an independent and useful teaching tool and learning material. Works of art by professional artists, as well as student artworks, were regarded as public art as they are on display within the semi-public space of educational facilities. Works of art in public urban spaces as well as in the art exhibitions, city art museums, and galleries fell within the scope of public art pedagogy. Thus, the understanding of public art in learning environments and teaching extended to include art that is outside the actual educational facilities. Visual arts teachers particularly promoted argumentation skills and the emotional expression of learners, as well as 21st century skills, of which creativity and innovation, cultural awareness, and social responsibility were the most often mentioned. Also, visual arts teachers made use of accurate sensory perceptions to deepen the reality in which learners live as well as advanced the study of cultural significance. In that way teaching through public art in lower and upper secondary schools specifically emphasized the different perspectives of learners and their ability to evaluate the human experience responsibly.
  • Halenius, Outi (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    The purpose of this study was to examine the pedagogical use of illustrative material in early childhood education. While pictorial material is widely used in early childhood education, there is little research on the topic. The application of pictorial material in supporting communication and structuring everyday function is gaining recognition in early childhood education. The aim of this study was to investigate the pictorial environment of day care centers and the experience of using pictorial material in interactions with children from the kindergarten teachers perspective. Furthermore, the study examines how kindergarten teachers use pictorial material in early childhood education and how they plan the pictorial environment. The research design was qualitative. The research material was collected by theme interviews and photographic documentation. The data included 15 interviews of kindergarten teachers and 613 photographs of their classes. The research material collected end of 2010 in a city in southern Finland. The method used in analyzing both the interviews and the photograph material was theory-guided content analysis. The pictures displayed in the day care environments particularly emphasized everyday functions such as day or week schedules, dressing, eating and play in day care groups. In addition, children's artwork was on display in every classroom. The study suggests that the kindergarten teachers find the pictorial material essential particularly when teaching children with special needs and children who speak Finnish as a second language. However, the teachers noted that they considered the pictorial material beneficial to all children. Kindergarten teachers used pictorial material in everyday life, principally to structure function, guide children's play and support language development. Especially within integrated special groups the communication and participation through pictorial material was seen essential. Kindergarten teachers highlighted that the pictorial environment planning is based on child oriented, function oriented or aesthetic perspectives. The key emphasis in planning the environment is the needs of a particular child or group of children.
  • Salmi, Saara (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    The aim of this study is to investigate the stress levels of children who attend day care by examining the relations between the quality of the day care centre, child's individual characteristics and stress. This study is a part of a broader study concerning children's stress regulation and learning at the Department of Teacher Education in the University of Helsinki. The participants of the study were 33 day care centres in 5 towns in Southern Finland. The 340 children examined in the study were between the ages 3 and 7. The evaluation of stress levels was completed by stress hormone measurements. These measurements were obtained by saliva samples which were taken from the children (N=340) a total of five (N=5) times during a day. The measuring process was carried out both at home and at the day care centre. The samples were then frozen and analysed at the National Institute for Health and Welfare. The quality of the day care centres was explored from several aspects. However, the examination stayed on the micro level – i.e. the quality factors were evaluated empirically. In this process, the structural and process related quality factors in the day care group's learning environment were assessed. To do this, The Learning Environment Assessment Scale (Strain & Joseph 2004) was used as a medium of assessment. In this scale, the observed subjects are multifaceted. They include classroom arrangement, assessment of activity and transition situations, and the working methods of the pedagogues. A child's individual characteristics were assessed by exploring the child's temperament. The parents evaluated their child's temperament with the Children's Behaviour Questionnaire which has been created by Rothbart (2001). The results indicate that the children's stress hormone levels during the day followed the normal everyday cortisol cycle. On average, however, girls were more stressed than boys. High quality evaluations of the pedagogue team's functionality as well as consistency and clarity in the activity and transition situations reduced the children's stress levels. Children who had a tendency to react to the smallest of stimuli were most likely to have higher stress levels. Girls, whose temperament had been evaluated to not show anger and frustration, were more stressed on average. Also, boys whose activity level was evaluated to be high had stress levels above average.
  • Lahtinen, Leena (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    The experiences of an individual build and shape his or her personality. Experiences of nature contribute considerably to the development of children’s self-esteem and self-image. It is worth bearing in mind that the children of today will become the builders and decision-makers of tomorrow and, therefore, their education is of great importance. Their attitudes and values will define the development and well-being of our society. Children’s experiences of their daily lives are a key element of this study. The study explored 5–6-year-old kindergarten children’s (n = 98) experiences of garden activities. The garden was examined as a physical, psychological, social and cognitive environment for growth and learning. The study concentrated on the children’s emotional responses that were aroused by garden activities and on the function of the garden as a social meeting place for children. A further aim of the study was to follow the development of the 5–6-year-old participants’ knowledge of the garden and nature. The children’s experiences were assessed with a drawing task, Me as a Gardener, that was supplemented with individual interviews, conducted between 2014–2015. The children’s emotional experiences and knowledge of nature were enhanced as a result of the garden activities. The activities contributed to an increase in positive experiences and self-image, especially in the case of boys, and to the development of an understanding of the effects of gardening. Based on this study can be expected to, an intentional use of the garden as a growth and learning environment encourages the growth of children in early-childhood education settings.
  • Somervuori, Kai (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Aims. School buildings have gone through a change in recent years in Finland. Many schools have more open spaces and traditional classrooms have turned into open physical learning environments. An open physical learning environment refers to a large space where there could be several teachers teach several groups of students. There is little re search or studies on open physical learning environments. The purpose of this study is to find out the views of class teachers about open physical learning environments. In particular, the research aims to find out how open physical learning environments affect learning. The theoretical framework of the research is formed around the concept of learning environment. The research questions of the study are: 1. What perceptions do class teachers have about open physical learning environments? 1.1 How do open physical learning environments support learning in the class teachers' views? 1.2 In what way do the open physical learning environments make learning more challenging in the view of class teachers? Methods. The research was conducted as a qualitative case study. The data was collected using a semi-structured interview. Seven class teachers from the same southern Finnish school participated in the study. The interviews were conducted between November 2021 and February 2022. The research material was analysed using theory-driven content analysis. Results and conclusions. Based on the research, there are factors that support and hinder learning in open physical learning environments. The results were a lot like previous studies. In the teachers' answers, the problems of the stimulus environment of open physical learning environments were seen as factors making learning more difficult. Concerns arose especially in matters related to the planning of the school's everyday life. The simultaneous teaching of different subjects in the space and the passage of groups of students in the space were particularly highlighted. In addition, open physical learning environments were not seen as suit able for all students. The teachers were especially worried about students with special needs. On the other hand, according to the teachers, the advantage of the open physical learning environment was the opportunities it offered for versatile and individual work. The possibility of co-teaching was seen as an advantage of the space. Different learners should be considered when planning open physical learning environments. In addition, it would be important for new schools to know the possible problems that may be encountered in open physical learning environments. In this way, a painless transition to new types of open physical learning environments could be implemented.
  • Piirainen, Eliisa (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    The goal of this thesis was to find out what kind of visual representations the sixth graders classrooms have. The aim also was to research how and by whom the visual representations are formed and what kind of aims objects and pictures of classrooms have from the point of teaching and education. In addition, this thesis is looking for an answer to what is a dream come true classroom in pupils visions. There are only few studies about classrooms from the point of visuality or aesthetics. The data were collected in May 2011 in Kainuu and in May 2012 in Helsinki. Six sixth graders classrooms were photographed and six class teachers working in photographed classrooms were interviewed. According to that the data was also collected by interviewing ten pupils from three classrooms in Helsinki in May 2012. The visual data was analyzed by content analysis and the interview data by discourse analysis. The visual representations in classrooms have been formed from basic school furnitures and from the objects and pictures which teachers have brought to the classrooms or which have been in the classrooms before teachers even have been working in there. Also the seating arrangements affect to visual representations forming. Pupils' role is to make art, presentations and posters and in some cases also hang them on the classroom walls - but often following rules given by the teacher. Visual representations with pedagogical goals are such as student work, maps and books. Those pictures and objects are teaching and learning tools. Visual representations with educational goals are for example student work, timetables and common rules of the school. The educational goals seem to relate to behaviour control and evaluation. Pupils dream about classrooms that support action. On the basis of the collected data, it seems that teachers are not aware of the visual impact of their classrooms visual representations and neither of the visual representations possibilities in teaching and education. This thesis gives information about sixth graders classrooms as a visual learning environment. It also points out the areas where teachers should pay attention when organizing and decorating classrooms in the way that supports learning and increases school enjoyment.
  • Fonsén, Elina; Lahtinen, Leena; Sillman, Mari; Reunamo, Jyrki (2022)
    In this paper, we present research that focuses on pedagogical leadership that is evaluated by the staff in the early education unit. The evaluations relate to the observed indicators of the well-being of children and leadership evaluations conducted by the early education centre directors. The methods include systematic observation of children, educators’ evaluation of leadership and directors’ evaluation of their leadership. The measurements are independent of each other. The data were collected between 2017 and 2019 in Finnish early education units. The results indicate the connection between the pedagogical leadership of director and observed activities of children, including involved learning, positive emotion, physical activity and participation. The connection between pedagogical leadership evaluated by the staff was also connected with leadership evaluated by the director, highlighting the need for the director to focus on pedagogical leadership and staff involvement. The results provide a perspective to help the director to focus on the main task of early education, the well-being of the children.
  • Alijoki, Alisa; Suhonen, Eira Anneli; Nislin, Mari; Kontu, Elina; Sajaniemi, Nina (2013)
  • Kivelä, Lotta (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    These days the physical activity of children has been reduced and the research show that most of the children are not active enough to fill the physical activity guidelines. The culture of kindergartens should change along the changes in society. There should be more physical education and children's physical activity should be added in everyday life and kindergarten's learning environments. This study is about how the learning environments inside the kindergarten could be more physically activating, and what the staff thinks about changing the environments physically more activating. This study is based on a qualitative research method, using theme interview. Four people who work in a kindergarten were interviewed. In the kindergarten they were about to start a project in order to develop their learning environments to be physically more activating. These four staff members were interviewed before the project started. They were asked questions about their opinions on physically activating indoor learning environments and how those environments could be improved to encourage children's physical activity. The results of this study show that the physical activity in learning environments depends mostly on the attitude of the staff; do they allow children to be physically active in their everyday life or do they prohibit their physical activity in the interest of safety, and do they offer opportunities for children to be physically active indoors. Other things that effect on increasing children's physical activity indoors are the rooms of kindergarten and the sporting equipment, the timetable of the day and human resources. The overall attitude towards physical education and children's physical activity among staff was positive and enthusiastic, but still until now the children hadn't been allowed to move indoors so that they would become breathless. This is the same result as in the former studies that have been done about children's physical activity; children aren t physically active enough in the kindergarten. All the interviewees thought that the project would be beneficial and could have a lasting impact on the culture of physical activity in their kindergarten. So the most important thing in developing learning environments to be physically more activating is to change the attitudes of adults so that they would allow children to be physically active indoors.
  • Niilekselä, Pia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Entrance to academic studies does not automatically lead to commitment in one's studies. There may be differences in student commitment across different learning environments. In the present study, combinations of problems in studying medical students experience were investigated in a lecture-based learning environment (n = 246) and in a problem-based learning environment (n = 231). Also differences between the combinations in task avoidance and differences between the combinations in academic achievement were investigated in each learning environment. Medical students were classified in different learning environments by K-means cluster analysis by cases into groups based on the following variables: exhaustion, lack of self-regulation, lack of interest and distress. Three groups of commitment among medical students were identified in the lecture-based learning environment: committed, carefree and dysfunctional students. The profiles were related to task avoidance but not to study success. The committed students expressed less task avoidance than the carefree students and the dysfunctional students. The latter two groups of medical students did not differ from each other in this case. Also three groups of commitment among medical students were identified in the problem-based learning environment: committed, committed carefree and dysfunctional students. The profiles were related to task avoidance and study success. The dysfunctional students expressed more task avoidance than the committed carefree students and the committed students. The latter two groups of medical students did not differ from each other in this case. The committed students and the committed carefree students gained better grades than the dysfunctional students. However, the former two groups of medical students did not differ from each other in this case. The implications of the study for research are discussed.
  • Rantanen, Mirjami (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    Aims. The purpose of this study is to find out how e-learning can promote learning in the context of home economics education. This study focuses on students learning home economics at Kolin koulu in Eastern Finland studied home economics by means of ‘Kulkuri School of Distance Education’. The main research questions are as follows: 1. How e-learning can activate students to learn? 2. In what ways e-learning can promote the development of core skills in home economics education? Methods. The data were collected as using individual interviews together with a stimulated recall method. The research involved five students in Koli and three professionals of education. The data were analyzed with qualitative content analysis. Results and conclusion. From the interviewees point of view collaboration, inclusion and interaction helped their activation process on e-learning. Technical problems, challenges using e-learning platform and lack of instructions were the main reasons to inactive student’s learning processes. It seems to be possible to obtain the targets of national curriculum together with aspects of social-constructivist learning aspects via e-learning. Despite the advantages of e-learning it cannot be seen as the only learning environment for practicing the core skills in home economics.
  • Tammela, Elise (Helsingin yliopisto, 2023)
    The purpose of this study is to describe, analyse and interpret what kind of role outdoor education has in elementary school education, as well as what kinds of opinions class teachers have about outdoor education. The aim of the study is to make outdoor education more visible and to highlight experiences from the perspective of class teachers. Considering previous research data, it has been established that teaching especially in the natural environment improves both well-being and enhances learning, which makes it important to study how Finnish class teachers themselves experience outdoor teaching. This study is a qualitative study in which data were collected through themed interviews. Individual interviews involved five class teachers from grades 1 to 4, who regularly used outdoor education at least twice a month. The data was analysed using data-driven content analysis. Theoretical research consists of outdoor teaching, teaching in urban learning environments and teaching in natural environments. I also researched effects of the natural environment on well-being and learning. The results show that the most popular out-of-school learning environments were forest, library, and learning environments for physical education. The most popular subjects were environmental studies, Finnish language and literature, physical education, and mathematics. Outdoor education consisted of action-based learning, like playing, games and inquiry-based learning. Teachers used outdoor education to improve well-being and teaching, to develop a relationship with nature and to increase action-based learning. Teachers’ own preferences were also one of the reasons to teach outside the school building. The need for pupils’ support did not increase in outdoor education. Instead, pupils benefited from studying particularly in nature. In outdoor education, the role of the teacher was most often as an instructor or a fellow learner. Benefits of outdoor education included improvements in well-being, in social relations, and in learning. There were more room for diversity in teaching and in pupils when learning outdoors. Pupils also had more responsibility outside of school building. Outdoor education also created a genuine interest to learn more. The challenges in outdoor education included advance preparation, challenges brought by students, unpredictability of teaching, lack of resources, difficulty in prioritizing, and changes brought by weather. Teachers felt that pupils liked outdoor teaching and the parents mostly supported teaching outdoors. Emotional support was usually provided from the working community, although other teachers did not always share same values. Teachers needed support for outdoor education, for example extra adults, equipment, planning time, money, a more functional local environment, and community support and assistance. By identifying the challenges in outdoor education, we can better support teachers’ work in out-of-school learning environments.