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Qualitative differences in post-compulsory pre-university Maltese students' accounts of their networked learning experiences

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Maria Cutajar
Publication date2014
Number of pages199
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis investigates variation in how Maltese post-compulsory pre-university computing students account for their networked learning (NL) experiences, and variation in how these students account for teachers and other students as contributors to these experiences. It advances a constitutive view of NL experiencing configured as an emergent progression of expanding awareness hence transcending portrayals emphasising contrasts and conflicts.
Phenomenographic results are based on a purposive sample of thirty-two participants. Qualitative differences in students’ accounts on their NL experiencing is constituted by four, hierarchically inclusive descriptions incorporating the use of the Internet (1) for flexibly accessing resources, (2) to follow through individual self-managed learning, (3) for learning in connectivity with others for increasing personal learning, (4) for learning in community with others consciously facilitating others’ learning. Experiencing NL is projected as critically structured by the use of technology, learning activity and related goals, and self-positioning in relation to others for learning. In expanding awareness the student is portrayed as shifting from ‘having an experience’ standing outside the learning system to ‘making an experience’ standing as an integral part of the learning system. Qualitative differences in students’ accounts of teachers and other students as contributors to their NL experiencing is constituted by three, hierarchically inclusive descriptions critically structured by perceived roles played. This variation incorporates (1) the teacher as director and other students as indirect consequence, (2) the teacher as guide and other students as direct learning means, (3) the teacher as convener and other students as significant co-actors in learning.
These descriptions may serve to inform the design of online learning systems meant to improve students’ experiences of learning using networked technologies.