The Importance of Lectures and How Students Value and Perceive Lectures

9 September 2016

The importance of lectures and how students value and perceive lectures Umea University, Research Methodology on Business Administration Group 9 Introduction3 Research background3 Research topic4 Choice of subject4 Research purpose4 Limitations5 Theoretical framework6 Introduction6 Learning Orientations and Theories6 Previous research7 Theory Conclusion9 Criticism of sources10 Methodology11 Epistemology and Ontology11 Research Strategy12 Preconceptions and values12 Research design13 Collection of data13 Analyzing of data14 Truth criteria14

Ethical considerations15 Results16 Analysis19 Discussion21 Conclusion22 Reference list23 Introduction Research background The articles we have found online have been conducted in other countries where the student- and/or teacher mentality might differ from their Swedish counterparts. Most of the previous research in this area tends to be focused on how lectures are not an effective tool for student learning (Buckles & McMahon, 1971, p. 141) or focusing on the fact that students are not attending lectures (Massingham & Herrington, 2006, p. 4).

The Importance of Lectures and How Students Value and Perceive Lectures Essay Example

The difference between their studies and ours is that our research will focus more on what students actually gain, in terms of knowledge, from lectures and how they perceive the value in attending them. This is because it is more or less a proven fact that you do not gain a lot of knowledge from attending lectures (Buckles & McMahon, 1971, p. 141), (Dunn. 2002), (Smith. 2003, 1999b) and a lot of students do not attend them (Massingham & Herrington, 2006, p. 84).

The change in technology has also changed the way teachers teach and students learn. Years ago, students had to attend lectures in order to obtain important notes and not missing out on important information. Some students may feel that none of this is necessary nowadays they can obtain most of the material presented during lectures as they are always posted online, and certain universities offer their students audio recordings of lectures (Massingham, Herrington, 2006, p. 85).

A problem can arise when teachers see their lectures as their primary education tool, they tend to view lecture slides and exercises as supplements to those lectures, whereas students tend to believe those supplements can be substitutes for attending the actual lectures. This brings students to question whether or not it is worthwhile going to campus at all. We believe students are not always aware of what they are missing out on when they skip lectures, which is an interesting aspect that we are trying to capture when asking what benefits students perceive they gain from lecture attendance.

Courses at university level tend to focus on lectures as its primary teaching technique, this is in contrast with theories such as Sensory stimulation and Cognitive orientation that shows that lectures are one of the more ineffective teaching forms (Dunn. 2002), (Smith. 1999b). What then, is the reason for the central position lectures and lecture attendance has in university education? Our research aim is to find out what students can hope to gain by attending lectures and how they perceive those benefits and if ttending lectures are important for student learning. It has to be acknowledged that there is a difference in teaching styles today compared to thirty years ago, what have changed dramatically is that education has changed from something being valuable in its own right to merely a means to an end.

Herrington and Massingham has found that students today are no longer applying to courses in the thirst for knowledge but rather as an uninteresting way to gain a proper qualification and then a good job. Massingham, Herrington, 2006, p. 84). In recent times teaching styles has changed from a constructivist approach, that teachers facilitate and guide the process and students create their own meaning of information to an instructivist approach, which implies that teachers conduct a passive teaching style in that students receive information and individually process the information through repeated practice and learn the “right” answer and regurgitate someone else’s meaning.

Students today might simply be bored by the instructivist teaching style they face in many universities, and that they may be better off with a constructivist approach that enables them to understand new information in increased depth and detail (Massingham, Herrington, 2006, p. 84). Whether or not lectures are done in a instructivist or constructivist way does not necessarily mean that the whole course outlay is done in that manner, however, our research is solely focused on lectures, making the chosen approach used in lectures reflect in part how students perceive those lectures and what they gain from them.

Research topic This thesis explores the attitude students at the International Business Program has regarding lectures and gives an understanding on how they perceive the relevance of lecture attendance and its benefits. Our research question will be: ”Are lectures important for students to gain new knowledge? How do students perceive the benefits of attending lectures? We want to investigate if lectures are an important source of gaining knowledge of the subject at hand, what benefits lectures bring to students and how students perceive those benefits. We will focus on a quantitative survey with questions egarding the benefits of lectures that students are attending and if they believe it has any significance of their academic performance.

We will then gather the material, evaluate it and develop a conclusion. Choice of subject We all have academic backgrounds and have studied almost four semesters here at Umea University. We have felt that some of the lectures we attended have not been really constructive or rewarded us with significant knowledge. This has spurred our interest in the actual importance of lecture attendance and what students gain from attending them.

We will analyse published reports of previous studies on subjects such as students’ attitudes on attendance, reasons for absenteeism and student learning styles to verify our own theoretical assumption. We will conduct a survey through the internet to first- and second year students in the International Business Program regarding their individual attendance rates and reasons for attending- and missing class. The data collected will be evaluated and analysed and we will then form a conclusion where we can establish the main reasons for missing class and what value students’ see in lectures.

We hope this can benefit lecturers to better pinpoint what student needs they should focus on fulfilling and what they can do to increase the motivational factors driving students’ to feel they need to attend class. Research purpose We all have academic backgrounds and have studied almost four semesters here at Umea University. We have felt that some of the lectures we attended have not been really constructive or rewarded us with significant knowledge. This has spurred our interest in the actual importance of lecture attendance and what students gain from attending them.

We will analyse published reports of previous studies on subjects such as students’ attitudes on attendance, reasons for absenteeism and student learning styles to verify our own theoretical assumption. We will conduct a survey through the internet to first- and second year students in the International Business Program regarding their individual attendance rates and reasons for attending- and missing class. The data collected will be evaluated and analysed and we will then form a conclusion where we can establish the main reasons for missing class and what value students’ see in lectures.

We hope this can benefit lecturers to better pinpoint what student needs they should focus on fulfilling and what they can do to increase the motivational factors driving students’ to feel they need to attend class. Limitations There are certain limitations to our research, amongst them is the fact that courses have different layouts with variations in both the quality and quantity of its lectures. Lectures are mandatory in certain courses and/or involve practical exercises which further influence students attendance.

These limitations are somewhat dampened by our choice of sending the survey solely to IBP students in the first and second year, as they are studying the same programme. An aspect that can limit our research is the fact that the quality of lecturers’ ability to capture the audience, hold interesting lectures and the teaching style they employ, will greatly influence what students learn from the lecture and what benefits they perceive that they gain from attending it. This has the potential of causing variations in the answers of our respondent and is, again, one of the reasons we have chosen IBP students for our survey.

Theoretical framework Introduction There are certain limitations to our research, amongst them is the fact that courses have different layouts with variations in both the quality and quantity of its lectures. Lectures are mandatory in certain courses and/or involve practical exercises which further influence students attendance. These limitations are somewhat dampened by our choice of sending the survey solely to IBP students in the first and second year, as they are studying the same programme.

An aspect that can limit our research is the fact that the quality of lecturers’ ability to capture the audience, hold interesting lectures and the teaching style they employ, will greatly influence what students learn from the lecture and what benefits they perceive that they gain from attending it. This has the potential of causing variations in the answers of our respondent and is, again, one of the reasons we have chosen IBP students for our survey. Learning Orientations and Theories

To start of this theory part we will take a look at some of the theories brought up in Lee Dunn “Learning and Teaching Briefing Papers Series” (2002). The Sensory stimulation theory states that learning occurs when the senses are stimulated and that stimulating multiple senses will yield greater learning outcome (Dunn. 2002). These senses are of differing importance when it comes to acquiring knowledge, listed in the order of  how much  knowledge an adult have gained from them they are; seeing/sight 75%, hearing 13% and taste, touch and smell 12% (Dunn. 2002).

Straight away we can see that sight is by far the most important sense to stimulate and hearing ending up on a second place with much less importance when looking at the percentage. According to this it is reasonable to believe that reading would be a great source for gaining new knowledge since sight will be the dominant sense, however as stated in the theory activating multiple senses at once will be even more effective. Group exercise/problem solutions would by this reasoning be the most effective tool since it will not only activate the sight sense but also hearing when undertaken as a discussion when solving them.

Lectures on the other hand start off lacking by using hearing as its dominant sense, however most lecturers do try to activate the seeing sense as well with the aid of powerpoint slides and overhead projectors, but according to this theory it is reasonable to state that lectures are not an especially effective learning outlet. In his work “Learning theory” (2003) M. K. Smith brings up four orientations to learning; behavioral, cognitive, humanistic and social/situational. We will analyze these orientations in the light of their relevance and significance when it comes to the importance of lectures and what students gain from those lectures.

It must be mentioned that the Reinforcement theory and Cognitive-Gestalt approaches from Lee Dunn’s work is practically the same as the behaviourist and cognitive orientations from M. K. Smith’s work, they are based on the same psychological/theoretical foundations and they will be analyzed later in the text. The behaviourist orientation or Reinforcement theory focus on changing behaviour in a desired way through reinforcements and the environment and it is based on the behavioural school of psychology (Smith. 1999a)(Dunn. 002). Learning can be defined as a change in behaviour (Smith. 2003), this concept by itself is somewhat vague but through lectures the teacher can influence how we behave and by extension what we learn.

For example just by attending all lectures student behaviour has been changed (or maintained), by encouraging or discouraging (which is reinforcements) certain behaviour such as; literature reading, class participation and exercise work, the lecturer changes the way students study and the way they behave (Dunn. 002). Changing behaviour and creating an environment suitable for learning is something that is best done in personal interaction. This indicates that lectures are a good tool for achieving the goals of a behaviourist orientation. Changing the students? behaviour and thereby enabling them to learn is something that would make lectures important and by extension create value in attending them. The cognitive orientation focus on act/process of knowing, internal mental processes, perception and insights (Smith. 1999b).

This cognitive approach to learning is focused on problem/exercise solving, processing that information and other insights (Dunn. 2002). This is something that is not suitable for a crowded lecture environment, exercise and problem solutions and other internal mental contemplations can of course be done later after lectures and at home, however this approach still does not favour lectures as a important learning tool. The humanistic orientation focus on self fulfillment and actualization and the idea that persons study to improve themselves and reach their potential (Smith. 1999c).

The act of attending lectures is something that can make a student feel like they have achieved something during the day, creating encouragement for further lecture attendance and studies. This sense of self fulfillment is something that is not exclusive to lectures and lecture attendance, indeed any hard day’s work in studies, be it writing or reading is bound to manifest in a feeling of self fulfillment. The social/situational orientation focus on interactions between people and social observations and the fact that people learn by observing others and participating in social activities (Smith. 999d). In the aspect of lectures and the benefits of attending them, this orientation is of considerable importance, since lectures is the main instance for social gatherings in an educational context. We will use these learning orientations and the Sensory stimulation theory to analyze the results of our survey, we believe that these orientations/theories will be valuable tools for understanding and analysing the students’ perception of lectures and the value it brings them. These orientations/theories will also help us analyse and explain contradictions that might appear in our research.

Previous research Regarding the subject of lectures and learning outcome, Buckles and McMahon states in their article that ”lectures which cover only the assigned reading material are of no marginal value to students’ learning ”. Their research explores the value of lectures in elementary economics (microeconomic theory in specific) and conducted an experiment to either confirm or reject their given hypothesis stating that lectures indeed did not significantly improve student comprehension (Buckles & McMahon, 1971, p. 140).

Their experiment consisted of a class with students randomly divided in two groups. One group of students were assigned to a control group which attended lectures and studied the programmed text and the other, the experimental group, did not attend lectures but were assigned the programmed text (Buckles & McMahon, 1971, p. 139). Their experiment consisted of a ”dummy variable” to indicate the absence or presence of a categorical effect that may change the outcome, in this case class attendance. They had set an acceptance level of 0. prior to the test, and in none of the regressions was the coefficient of the dummy variable for attendance significantly different from zero (Buckles & McMahon, 1971, p. 140), thus the analysts accepted their hypothesis of lectures do not aid the students learning in microeconomic theory.

Sara Dolnicar’s research (Dolnicar, 2005) investigates the reasons for and patterns of lecture attendance by students and she conducted a study to gain more understanding into what drives students’ to lectures. Her study design was composed of an initial exploratory stage where she interviewed 100 andomly selected students to gain insight into the motivations and reasons for lecture attendance, and from that information she created a two-page questionnaire. The survey was handed out to six different faculties on campus and the final sample consisted of 612 students answering questions regarding the current course in which the survey was assigned to, which means that the evaluation considers students studying different programs and courses. This is a good indicator as to see what drives our preferred target group, commerce students, to lectures compared to other programs such as science students.

The students were provided with a list of reasons for attending lectures and were presented with the same list twice, once for the subject in which the survey was conducted and once for all subjects in general. The result showed only minor differences from the subject-specific to the general subject evaluation of students, and that the main reasons for students attending lectures are to find out what they are supposed to learn (75%), find out about assessment tasks (52%) and not to miss important information (68%).

It was found that science and arts students were the faculties with the highest attendance rates and commerce/business students had the lowest attendance rates. This must be interpreted with care as some science classes consisted of as low as five students and their lectures may involve more practical exercises and different learning requirements than commerce’s predominantly theoretical approach.

Dolnicar conclude in her article that the main difference from earlier studies in lecture attendance is a major shift in motivation compared to the 1970’s where factors such as stimulation of interest, gaining knowledge and enthusiasm dominated as opposed to today’s motivations as those mentioned in her survey results. Furthermore, the quality of lecture and lecturer proved to have a significant positive correlation, as can be expected.

She also grouped the student motivation responses into two extremes; ”Idealist” who enjoyed attending lectures and consisted mainly of arts students and can be characterised as being older; and ”Pragmatics” who only wanted to obtain the right amount of information they needed to be successful in the subject and were mostly found studying commerce and characterised as being younger (Dolnicar, 2005, p. 111). Peter Massingham and Tony Herrington explore questions as to whether lecture attendance matter and examines the performance and attitudes towards lectures.

As lecturers themselves, their research motivation was to find reasons for students absenteeism to better engage students in the learning process (Massingham & Herrington, 2006, p. 96). Their case study consisted of five elements including a survey conducted on a class consisting of 172 students in the Faculty of Commerce, a research paper, a mid term exam, class participation and a final examination. The survey consisted of questions regarding student non-attendance for lectures and tutorials where they would grade the different alternatives on a likert scale from 1 to 5.

The result showed that the main reasons for missing lectures and tutorials included being: busy, sick, at work, bored, technology alternatives (material available online) and the teacher. Excluding the lifestyle factors, the biggest influences on student attendance are their attitudes to learning and motivation such as ”the topic was boring” and ”I don’t like the subject” (Massingham & Herrington, 2006, p. 96). To investigate the involvement in learning process they developed measures such as breadth and depth of learning, where breadth was measured in terms of attendance and depth in terms of class participation.

For mandatory classes, such as tutorials, lifestyle factors had the most influence on non-attendance (breadth) such as sickness or work, while motivational factors were most influential regarding participation (depth) at tutorials as lack of interest or motivation act as barriers to tutorial learning (Massingham & Herrington, 2006, p. 96). As for lecture absenteeism, where attendance is voluntary, the motivational factors dominated reasons for non-attendance.

Interestingly enough, the process-, style- and personality of the teacher proved to be the major influential factor concerning student attitudes for attending lectures. There is a significant amount of students who do not attend because they sense they ”can pass the subject without learning”, ”the lectures are boring” and feel that lectures are a waste of time. This highlight the importance that a good relationship with the student and teacher is vital for student learning- process and outcome as a teaching process that can spur students’ motivation may change their attitude towards lecture and may be more prone to attend.

In the end, Massingham and Herrington conclude that attendance has a clear impact on performance in that students who attend lectures and tutorials performed better on all assessment tasks, especially the final examination. In their discussion they suggest that students’ whose attitude towards learning is ”inappropriate” (those who see no value in the teaching aspect in lectures) might have been developed because ”they have experienced a level of success in educational environments that do not support deep understanding and a ’thirst’ for knowledge and understanding” (Massingham & Herrington, 2006, p. 8).

They advise that the teaching-centred approach of today, where students receive knowledge and instructions, should shift to a more student-centred approach where students can put knowledge into real life context and get a more in-depth understanding of the information they receive. In relation, students who are absent from class gather their necessary information from material available online which in a sense serves the same purpose as the teacher-centred approach, where information is memorised and replicated for the sole intention to pass assessment tasks and exams.

In order for these students’ to attend lectures, the teachers’ attitudes towards teaching and technology need a change for the subsequent change in students’ attitude and approach. This may well induce non-motivated students’ to start attending class if they perceive the teachers’ learning process during lectures can fulfill a certain type of value they cannot get a hold of online. Theory Conclusion Based on these theories our hypothesis is that lectures are relevant for student learning but not in the way we first expected and not in terms of pure knowledge gain.

We believe students will say that lecture attendance is important for their learning while also stating that they do not gain a lot of new knowledge from attending them. The sensory stimulation theory express in clarity that lectures are not an effective method for gaining new knowledge since lectures use hearing as its dominant sense stimulation which has been proven inferior to sight, this is also backed by cognitive orientation that favours factors more suitable for problem solutions and contemplations.

What speaks in favour for lectures is the behavioural and social orientations, we believe that the benefits brought up by these orientations is not about gaining new knowledge from the lectures. We believe that lectures becomes important for students by enabling teachers to use reinforcements to make students more effective at acquiring their own knowledge and by providing a framework and stability in the learning process. Lectures also provides a valuable social setting where students can improve their knowledge.

This correlates to Massingham & Herrington’s article stating that students’ attitude and approach to lectures are highly influenced by the teaching style applied in class, as a constructivist teaching method can induce students’ to actively participate in solving problems, process the information in their own way and use it in real life context and thus get a deeper understanding of the subject at hand. This would change the “pragmatic” students, who aim to obtain just the right amount of information to be successful in the subject, to “idealist” students who genuinely enjoy attending lectures based on a change in motivational factors.

We do not imply that lectures should be eliminated entirely, but rather replace the instructivist approach to a more constructivist one. Criticism of sources Smith, M. K. (2003) “Learning theory”. This is an general article about learning theories and is by no way specific to lecture attendance and its benefits however the orientations described in it is still important tools for analyzing lectures and they make for a solid theory foundation that we can build on. We deem that this article and its author in a credible and reliable source. Lee Dunn “Learning and Teaching Briefing Papers Series” (2002).

This article has relevant and good theories and it is a credible source. This article is however quite short and not very thorough in some aspects, so we have mainly used it as supplement to other theories. P. Massingham and T. Herringtons (2006) “Does Attendance Matter? An Examination of Student Attitudes, Participation, Performance and Attendance”. S. G. Buckles & M. E. McMahon (1971)“Further Evidence on the Value of Lectures in Elementary Economics” limit themselves to one class which can be seen as insufficient to consider it a decisive study.

The fact that it is quite old can also prove to be a factor as, (Dolnicar, 2005) in particular point out, that student mentality has changed drastically since the 1970’s where students’ motivation factors such as stimulation of interests, enthusiasm and gaining knowledge dominated (as opposed to respondents in her survey) would infer different results had the research been conducted in recent times. S. Dolnicar (2005) “Quality in Higher Education; Should We Still Lecture or Just Post Examination Questions on the Web? the nature of the shift towards pragmatism in undergraduate lecture attendance”. Methodology In our survey we want to understand to what extent students appreciate lectures as a way of learning, and also what factors affecting whether or not a student attends lecture. We want to know about how students pass their exams, since in our time here at the university we have experienced that there are not necessarily a clear correlation between lecture and a passing grade that can be traced back to lecture alone.

Although it can be hard to just ask questions regarding how much you are attending lecture and what grades they got on the last exam, because the students that are having a high degree of attendance might also be the most diligent students and might also study very hard outside of lecture. Therefore we will focus more on how each and every student think on how and from where their way of learning is. We will focus on attendance rates in the general sense, as a previous study found no significant deviations from the subject-specific to the general evaluation of students (Dolnicar, 2005, p. 07). Epistemology and Ontology “An epistemological issue concerns the question of what is (or should be) regarded as acceptable knowledge in a discipline. ” (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 16). Bryman & Bell proposes that there are different stances including Positivism, interpretivism and realism. Our epistemological stance is a bit ambiguous because we share a lot of the characteristics with positivism in the sense of how we conducted the survey, but an interpretive epistemological stance regarding how we have interpreted the results and how we have analyzed it.

We think in our case that it is impossible to adopt a full positivist way of conducting our research, but we have some positivistic elements, because we have used a quantitative survey approach and the questions did not leave any room for “open questions” to the respondents of our survey, but rather had prepared answers were they could choose among alternatives. furthermore, we have used some statistical features in order to achieve our analysis, but the nature of our subject calls for an interpretive approach, since “People and their institutions – is fundamentally different from that of natural science” (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 7).

Since we are are dealing with people and how they perceive lecture, we would propose that we have used a mix of these epistemological stances. In our ontological considerations we believe that our target group has constructionism as ontological position. Constructionism means that a social phenomena and their meanings are continually changing (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 23) which we think is true since, how the students view the lecture as a way of learning depends on several factors including what kind of teachers they had up to present and what teachers they will have in the future.

Also, how the talks goes among the students of how to learn and among several other variables. Furthermore, for us as researchers, the ontological position are also constructionist. Since we change how we look at things whilst we are writing this report and acquiring new knowledge. Research Strategy We are going to do a quantitative survey through the internet. We saw this as the because it is a fast and easy way to get answers for our study. A quantitative survey is a good tool to get many responses in a timely manner and we can collect the data and analyse the answers in an easy way.

A quantitative survey might also be good when handling sensitive topics. Although we are not sure whether this topic is sensitive for people or not. furthermore, the way this topic can be sensitive should not be ignored. Our respondents might think that their personal opinion about lectures and their attendance habits are very personal. Although if we however conducted a qualitative survey we would hold their answers for our self due to ethical reasons, but since we are in the same class (or the same program) and they might not want to share their true opinions about the subject, a quantitative approach is therefore appropriate. urthermore, a major disadvantage using a quantitative survey is that the ability to probe answers are limited.

With the right questions we can acquire a fair picture using our survey, regarding how students perceive lecture. With a quantitative survey method it is easy to find a common denominator for how they are learning and their attitudes towards lecture in general. Our assumption about the results is that student will state that they do not gain a significant amount of new knowledge by attending lectures whilst still stating that it is important for their learning outcome to attend them.

This is due to them gaining benefits mentioned in our hypothesis that gives them greater structure in their self studies and a social learning environment that will be more effective for their learning outcome, these benefits are not easily realized compared to pure knowledge gain. We will use a quantitative research approach in order to confirm or reject our own assumptions in the theory part. We have decided to make our sample students from the International Business Program that is studying in their first and second year.

Firstly because we have very good access to that group of people, and we understand their situation, which is very useful for us in order to get a deeper understanding of the responses from the survey. Furthermore, we believe that we will get a high response rate from that group since at least the people in our class are in the same situation as we are and understand how important it is for us to get responses.

As far we understand are the structure of courses and especially programs are very different, for example science students might need to go to lectures in order to access to lab due to security reasons or if there is a highly practical course and lecture is the main way of learning. We think it is important to limit our sample to a rather homogeneous group, because how students perceived lecture as a way of learning depends very much on what type of subject they are studying. Preconceptions and values “Values reflect either the personal belief or the feelings of the researcher” (Bryman & Bell, 2007. p. 29).

We would like to think that all research should be value free and objective, but on the other hand it is very hard to keep the values that a researcher hold totally in check. Many researchers nowadays instead chose to write about their values and preconceptions that might have influenced the research (Bryman & Bell 2007, p 30-31). Our preconceptions and beliefs about the subject can be very useful for the reader of the research to be aware of because whether we want it or not it will affect the research either consciously which we of course try to avoid but also subconsciously, which are harder to evade.

We believe that lecture is not always the best way of learning nowadays when technology enables us to get information on whatever subject existing in the world in a few seconds, and that lecture serves more as a structural tool to understand what is important in a course. furthermore, lectures can be a very good way to understand how a subject relates to reality when lecturers are providing examples which can be used to understand theories and concepts. Although the way of how lecturers are providing examples are highly individual and therefore not something that are general for lectures as a whole.

Lectures can also be used to enable interest in the subject when a teacher are passionate about it and can communicate in a clear and entertaining manner. Our experiences in our life can affect a lot of things in our research, everything to the choice of subject and to how we interpret the results of the survey. As we wrote earlier, we will try to have an open sense and try to avoid being bias in our approach. Research design In order to answer our initial question as just as possible we need give a thoughtful consideration on how to approach this social research thesis.

Hence we have to ensure that the relevance and the functionality of the observed data is consistent with our initial question. Practically this means that we have to grasp the core essence of our thesis and adapt the research so that all evidence presented will answer the question as unambiguously as possible. In our study we are conducting social exploratory research and thereby strive to find explanatory evidence and patterns in social phenomena, hence we are answering the question ‘what is going on here? without explicit expectations. Another important issue in our interpretation of the results is that we should not confuse causation with correlation, since the implication is indeed very different and can have huge impact on assumptions. Especially since human social behaviour is complex and arguably has high amounts of unknown variables it can be problematic to arrive at rational and logical causal statements. Therefore most causal assumptions in social science is probabilistic rather than deterministic.

Essentially this tells us that in in our analysis we can not make completely justified deterministic explanations but only state and improve probabilistic explanations. Hence we can claim that a certain factor may increase the likelihood of a specific outcome but never give certainty about outcomes. Collection of data Our research is latitudinal, which means we will do our survey in order to explore students attitudes towards lecture at a specific point of time. The respondents were people from International business program year 1 and 2. 6 people did the survey, 64 % male and 36 % female. Although we did not try to aim any specific gender. We made the survey through a website on internet, after that we linked the survey to a secret facebook group with only people in IBP class 1 and 2. We posted the link in that group since that is the fastest and cheap way to reach our target sample without any interference from other people that do not study the International business program. Moreover, the members of the group are closely controlled to study IBP.

The survey was open to answer for five days, after that we removed the link and it was no longer possible to answer. The questions and answers can be found in the results part. We asked questions to understand how students perceive lectures as a way of learning, by asking different questions if they think lecture is important for their learning outcome. Further in the questionnaire we ask them to say what role lectures play for them. The second question was suppose to explain the answers from the first one by letting the student rank prepared alternatives according to how relevant they thought they were.

We also asked questions regarding their own attendance rate, to see if their view of lecture correspond with their own actions. Analysing of data Our prime tool to analyze our result from the survey is SPSS. This due to the fact that this program is very user friendly and well suited our purpose. We have chosen exploratory data analysis as approach to analyze our set of data. This due to the fact that this approach encourages its users to search for patterns and main characteristics in data sets, and therefore fulfills our criterias and research objective.

Regarding our set of data we could use all the participants that completed the entire survey. We suspect that approximately twenty persons aborted the survey mid way through or simply failed to submit the results, since theses results always will remain unknown we will not consider them. Furthermore as we have stated before we cannot make deterministic explanations but solely probabilistic explanations due to the essence of our paper. This is especially important since it will hugely effect on how we look upon and try to explain our research. Truth criteria

One of the fundamental cornerstones when conducting research it that the containing information and its conclusions can be justified as both reliable and valid. Essentially these two factors is measurements in which tells us whether the research can be justified or not. Validity addresses the concerns regarding unjust or misleading indicators, this can both be indicators that is false but also those that might not truly be relevant to the addressed problem or phenomena. To sum up vality tells us if the indicators used really can or should be used to measure the studied concept (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 65). The validity of our survey can be argued to infinity and beyond.

This due to the fact that our field of subject is indeed social science. As stated in the research design we do not try to imply that we have found an all grasping formula or conclusion that could include or be applied in all scenarios. We rather suggest that our research shall investigate and hopefully bring light upon the probability and likelihood of a specific outcome related to our chosen research field. This matter however should not be seen as something that necessarily should lower our validity, but rather the opposite.

Arguable since we are well aware and have acknowledged the limitations as well as the sensitivity of our research we better than many others should be be able to tell and justify what indicators and factors that should be included to help our research. This statement could further be justified by to the fact that we have done tremendous research regarding the subject. To some degree researchers much always rely on previous and not self tested results. In that sense we have put some of our research’s validity in the hands of previous researchers results.

However in the end we are the have ones that holds accountability in this research. In our selection of valid sources we have tried to mainly rely upon consensus gentium and our own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood. With the same justification as we stated towards the concern of viability we also use to argue that our research also can be looked upon as reliable. Ethical considerations Ethical issues might arise in different stages when conducting a study, although we have not experienced any ethical dilemmas due to the nature of our study.

Furthermore, We have made our survey anonymous due to four ethical principles “whether there is harm to the participants, lack of informed consent, invasion of privacy, or whether deception is involved” (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 132). The first point to discuss is if its harm to participants it might be unethical, depending on what ethical stance you possess. Harm can entail a number of faces: physical harm, harm to participants’ development or self esteem; stress, harm to career prospects or future development (Bryman & bell 2007, p. 133).

If the study was not conducted anonymous and that our results leaked in some way, it might had resulted in harm to the participants in terms of reputation or in future employment opportunities. For example, you answer questions regarding how many lectures you attend, which might be sensitive for some people. When we presented the survey for our participants we simply provided them with the information that we did a study regarding lectures. Surely the participants could by analyzing our questions get a hint on what kind of matter we were intending to research.

Our belief was however that we would keep our impact on the results to a minimum amount by not revealing our agenda and research field to clearly. Results The amount of respondents that started our survey was in total eighty-seven unique persons. However the actual amount that completed the entire survey ended up being sixty-six participating respondents. That gives us an overall reach to approximately 48% of our entire segment, and a response rate equal to nearly 36% of the segment. Of the respondents 64% was male and 36% was female. This tells us that is was also eighteen more males than females.

The outcome from the survey will be presented question by question. Q2. How many lectures do you attend on average? (% of total amount) Here the respondents had to choose between the following alternative answers, 100-80%, 80-60%, 60-40%, 40-20% and 20-0% attendance. The outcome was distributed followingly: Q3. Do you perceive that you get value from attending lectures? The alternative provided to this question was, Always, Almost always, Sometimes, Rarely and Never. The outcome was distributed followingly:

Do you consider it important to attend lectures for your learning outcome? On this question the respondents could choose to grade the mportance as either, Highly important, Important, Neutral, Unimportant and lastly Highly unimportant. On this question the results was disturbed followingly: Q5. Please indicate your average level of satisfaction with: In this question we asked the respondents to rate the satisfaction on the following topics, Overall education experience, Overall lecture level, Teaching quality at lectures and Class environment during lectures. The responses was distributed accordingly: Q6. During a course by which medium do you think you learn the most? (Please distribute 100% between the available options).

In this question the respondents needed to allocate 100% between the following learning mediums, Course book, Internet, Slides, Earlier knowledge, From peers and Other. The outcome from this was: Q7. Rate the following on a 5 to 1 scale the influence these variables have on your learning during lectures (5 being “very much” and 1 “almost zero”) The variables we asked to be graded on the scale was, Teaching style, Motivation, Class environment (Ex quiet or noisy) and Lack of discipline. The respondents answered followingly: Q8. Would you like to have more available lecture hours? The available answers was simply either Yes or No.

The response was the following: Q9. Grade the following factors in accordance to their level of significance on your decision making whether to attend a lecture or not. The factors that we asked the respondents to grade was, Bad weather, Lack of sleep, Inconvenient time of day, Part time work, Distance to school, Personal interest in course, Other plans, Relations with classmates, Size of class, Use of relevant examples in lectures, Availability of lecture material online, Quality/clarity of lecture, The lectures ability to communicate, The lectures ability to engage/entertain and lastly Lack of motivation.

The grading that we asked the participants to use was Very insignificant, Insignificant, Neutral, Significant and Very significant. The result was following: Q10. Kindly distribute the occasions when you have decided to don’t attend class as either justified or unjustified in percentage (100%). In this question we asked the participants to allocate the occasions when they did not go to lecture as either justified or unjustified according to their own perception and values. The result that we acquired was: Q11.

Kindly rate the accuracy of the following statement when considering what role the lectures fulfill for you. This time we asked them to consider different roles that lectures can be seen as and thereafter make them rank their answers depending on if they agree or disagree with the statement. The roles we used in the question was Highlighting the main importance of the course, Give clarification and wholeness to the subject, Inspiration/motivational source, Good way to learn, Meetingplace for peers and friends, To feel better – reduce stress/guilt and To structure your self studies.

The options they could use to rank the statements was, Agree, Somewhat agree, Neutral, Somewhat disagree and Disagree. The result was following: Analysis As this is a social study we have not conducted as hypothesis test with confidence intervals, instead we have analysed answers with our hypothesis to see if they match. We concluded our theory part with the hypothesis that students will not gain a lot of actual knowledge from attending lectures, rather they would gain other benefits from attending them, such as social, structural and general improvements in their self studies (Smith. 003, 1999a, 1999b, 1999c, 1999d). This hypothesis was based on the cognitive orientation from Smith’s work and the sensory stimulation theory from Dunn’s work together with (Massingham & Herrington, 2006), these theories favoured other learning methods over lectures. The results from our survey are fairly accurate following this hypothesis, when looking at question 4 were 68% of respondents was neutral or stated that it was important to attend lectures for their learning outcome.

This is in contrast with question 6 where the respondents said that only 15. 55% of their course knowledge was gained from lecture attendance and question 3 where 86. 37% of respondents was neutral or felt that they did not perceive that they get any value from attending lectures. This controversy can be explained by using the different learning orientations. The fact is that respondents feel that they do not get any pure knowledge from lecture attendance whilst they still feel that it is important for their learning outcome to attend lectures.

If we look at the sensory stimulation theory and the cognitive orientations they confirm that in terms of pure knowledge lectures should not be very affective. The behavioural and social orientations on the other hand brings up other positive aspects gained through lectures then just pure knowledge. By attending lectures and work with learning in a social environment, students will not only learn from each other but the lecturer will be able to influence their study techniques and enable them to create better consistency in their studies (Smith. 2003, 1999a, 1999d).

We believe, with backup from these orientations, that these other positive aspects are the reasons for respondents stating that it is important to attend lectures whilst they also state that the only gain a small amount of knowledge by doing so. One thing that is a bit harder to explain is the fact that the respondents stated that it was important to attend lectures for their learning outcome but still they did not perceive that they gained any value from doing so, we believe that this is because the benefits we mentioned above is more intangible than actual knowledge and therefore harder spot, creating this contradictory situation.

The “teacher style” and “motivational” options in question 7 were the dominant factors regarding influences of learning during lectures, which brings the questions as to why lectures received such a low response rate in question 6. This can be a result from an instructivist teaching style (where students’ passively accept information and knowledge from the lecturer and later work alone and regurgitate the accepted information and concepts) (Buckles & McMahon, 1971, p. 141) that affect the low response rate for lectures in question 6.

The answer might have been different had a more student-centered style been applied, where students gain a deeper understanding of new information through close interpretation of new knowledge and more extensive executions of theories and concepts. The answers in questions 7 do not themselves tell us what students feel the actual lectures give them, but what influence them most in learning during lectures, and since lectures play only a minor role as a learning medium we can conclude that a more teacher-centered style is performed during class, that is they receive the necessary information and process it at home.

A student’s motivation is also a factor when it comes to learning influences as the teacher-style cannot capture the students’ interest or attention if it does not require their immediate involvement. In question 11, respondents felt “Highlighting the main importance of the course”, “Give clarification and wholeness to the subject” and “To structure your self studies” were the main values fulfilled when attending lectures, compared to “Good way to learn” and “To feel better-Reduce stress/guilt” which respondents felt lectures did not entirely satisfy.

This further confirm our hypothesis that lectures are not especially effective in the case of students gaining additional comprehension of the subject (Buckles & McMahon, 1971, p. 141), but more as a way to enhance your self study structure and get a clear overview of what you should focus on during your self studies. Additionally, it proves that students’ are attending lectures for other purposes than an expected learning outcome and according to our survey students’ perceived value in attending lectures are to obtain information to take on the applied literature with a proper approach.

Discussion After conducting this survey and looking at lectures in the light of a more solid theoretical background that we now possess, we have all started to change our view of the importance of lectures and what we gain from attending them. We have previously believed, as most of our fellow students do (as shown in the survey), that the perceived benefits gained from lecture attendance are of slim value.

This thesis paper has shown us that this is not the case, lectures are of great value in the regards that they create a social educational environment and enable the lecturer to influence our study technique and the way we conduct our studies, even if these benefits are difficult to spot and easy to underestimate. In the regard of actual knowledge gain, lectures are still lacking when compared to course literature and exercise work, this leads us to the problem that students will only attend lectures if they perceive any value in attending the class.

This value is based on the teachers competence, process and generating understanding (Massingham, Herrington, 2006). A problem then occurs when the reality is that most lecturers at university level are either Ph. D. students or scientist, both with some pedagogical education, but it is not as extensive when compared to gymnasium and high school teachers. In both the Ph. D. student and scientist case they are required to perform these lectures by their universities, so it is reasonable to believe that this tends to make lecturing a secondary priority for them, which is bound to create a certain lack of motivation as well.

These factors can create a certain lack of competence in the teaching aspect and the lecturers ability to generate understanding, which will have a negative impact on the overall quality of the lecture and the benefits students gain from attending them. When looking at lectures in this light it is easy to imagine that the actual benefits gained from attending lectures are easily forgotten and mitigated by uninspiring lecturers. Conclusion

Our research purpose was to find out if students experience lectures as a good means of gaining knowledge and whether students perceive lectures as beneficial or not when it comes to education and academic outcome. We found through research papers and our own survey that the actual knowledge gained from lectures are, as we expected, lower than what it is gained from other sources such as; course literature reading, problem/exercise solutions and course web page. Students still perceived that it is important for their learning outcome to attend lectures and this due to the structural and social learning benefits discussed in our hypothesis.

During our research we acquired a comprehensible overview of what could possibly be modified in the IBP lecture structure. A more student-centered approach could be applied in order to get students to actively participate in subject-related theories and concepts to gain a deeper understanding on how to interpret them in real life, and thus get a more essential view of topics of the courses.

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