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Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction (MJLI) Vol. 7, 2010

Practitioner Action Research for Studying Higher Education and Improving the Quality of Teaching
Tony Harland
University of Otago, New Zealand
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
There is increasing interest in the quality of university teaching and how academics learn to be teachers. This paper examines the idea of empowering academics as researchers of their own teaching practices so they not only learn about that practice, but also make a commitment to knowledge for the wider teaching community and contribute to the theories of higher education. The arguments draw on the historical context of influences on professional learning and what can be understood from the changing conceptions of working practices in our universities. The paper concludes with some reflections on the current Malaysian situation where the idea of practitioner research for university lecturers is currently being explored.

Modelling the Relationships between Personality Factors, Perceptions of the School as a Learning Organisation and Workplace Learning of School Teachers
*Tengku Faekah Tengku Ariffin, Rosna Awang Hashim & Khulida Kirana Yahya
Universiti Utara Malaysia
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – In this study, a structural model based on Kurt Lewin’s Field Theory was proposed to explain how the interrelationships between a person (i.e. personality factors) and his or her environment (i.e. how one perceives the school as a learning organisation) can influence the person’s behaviour. The outcome behaviour of interest in this study is the teacher’s engagement in workplace learning activities.
Method – This is a a causal-comparative study which utilizes a survey method for data collection. The sample involved a total of 400 school teachers who were selected through a multistage cluster analysis sampling procedure. The data analysis involved an adoption of the two-step procedure. The first step was the analysis of the overall measurement model, followed by the analysis of the proposed structural model through structural equation modeling (SEM).
Findings – Results indicated that three of five personality factors (conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness to experience) and how the teacher perceived the school as a learning organisation, are significant influences of teacher’s engagement in workplace learning activities. Based on the holistic approach in model evaluation, both the overall measurement model and the structural model were found to be adequately fit.
Value – The study proposed a model which highlights the importance of personality factors and perceptions of the school as a learning organisation, and as significant contributors of workplace learning. Practical implications such as the improvement of personality items in the current teacher selection tool and the application of learning organisation in the school context are elaborated in this paper.
Keywords: workplace learning – personality (1NEO-FFI-3) – learning organisation – teachers

Mobile Game-Based Learning (mGBL): Application Development and Heuristics Evaluation Strategy
*Syamsul Bahrin Zaibon & Norshuhada Shiratuddin
Universiti Utara Malaysia
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – This article presents an approach to developing a mobile game-based learning (mGBL) application by adapting unified characteristics of learning theories and approaches. In addition, the study also identified the strategy to evaluate mGBL.
Method – The study utilized the design research approach in information systems. The research methodology can be divided into five phases; (i) awareness of problem (ii) suggestion (iii) development (iv) evaluation and (v) conclusion.
Findings – Unified characteristics of mGBL were identified. In adapting the characteristics, the mGBL application was developed based on the concept of values in 1Malaysia. To evaluate the mGBL, a heuristics evaluation strategy is proposed. The strategy consists of four components: Game Usability, Mobility, Game Play, and Learning Content. Each of the components represents the issues to be considered and evaluated for a mGBL.
Value – The study provides intensive review of mGBL characteristics that can be useful and may be of interest to game developers. In addition the heuristics evaluation strategy is developed for evaluating the effectiveness of mGBL application.
Keywords: mGBL, mobile game-based learning, development, characteristics, heuristics evaluation

Trainee Teachers’ Critical Thinking in an Online Discussion Forum: A Content Analysis
Irfan Naufal Umar & Noor Hazita Ahmad
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – The application of asynchronous mode of computermediated communication such as the online discussion forum is becoming more prevalent in our learning environment. Online forum is important for learning to take place as it allows the creation of a "virtual community of inquiry" that encourages problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge construction. Thus, this study sought to analyse the content of trainee teachers’ discussion in an online forum, especially in terms of their critical thinking levels. An online discussion forum was created for the trainee teachers to discuss their experience and problems encountered during the teaching practicum.
Method – A total of 30 Universiti Sains Malaysia pre-service teachers who underwent 20 weeks of teaching practice in secondary schools were involved in this study. The Newman, Webb and Cochrane (1995) framework was used to analyse the students’ levels of critical thinking skills as indicated in their messages or reflections. The depth of the their critical thinking in terms of relevance, importance, novelty, accuracy, linking ideas or interpretation, justification, critical assessment, and practical utility were of interest in this study.
Findings – Throughout the 20 weeks of teaching practice, a total of 896 positive critical thinking indicators were recorded from the participants’ discussion. Their reflections focused mainly on the aspects of relevance, importance, and justification of the issues being discussed. However, the trainees hardly tried to bring outside knowledge or experience to address problems, and their input barely refl ected their width of understanding in discussing the issues. The online discussion forum, nevertheless, has provided a platform for the trainees to share and reflect their problems during the teaching practicum session.
Value – The paper explores the potential of an online discussion forum to be applied during teacher practice session. Based on these findings, it is recommended that our teacher training institutions integrate this technology into their curriculum.
Keywords: online discussion forum, critical thinking, teacher Training

Computer Attitudes and Use Among Novice Teachers: The Moderating Effects of School Environment
*Wong Kung Teck, Goh Swee Choo, Hafizul Fahri Hanafi & Rosma Osman
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose − This survey research investigated important issues concerning computer use among novice graduate teachers from teacher training colleges in Sabah. The first issue was concerned with the levels of computer attitudes (CA) and computer use. The second was concerned with the effects of CA on computer use (CU). The third was concerned with moderating effects of the school environment (SE) on relationship between CA and computer use.
Method − A set of questionnaires was used as the research instrument and stratified systematic sampling was used to determine the research samples. The sample consisted of 192 primary and secondary school teachers. The data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics (factor analysis and regression analysis). Research hypotheses were tested at significance level of a = 0.05.
Findings − The findings showed that novice teachers have moderate CA and CU. CA had significant effects on computer use. SE has moderating impacts on the relationships between CA towards CU.
Value − The study provided wider implications for theory development, practices and policymaking that can be associated with the computer use among teachers. As a whole, most of the theoretical rationales used in explaining those relationships have been supported.
Keywords: educational technology, instructional, teacher’s attitudes, school environment.

The Effectiveness of Peer Tutoring in the Teaching of Mathematics
*Siew-Ling Gan & Kian-Sam Hong
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Purpose – This study examined the effectiveness of peer tutoring in the teaching of Mathematics in a Malaysian government secondary school. This study also investigated the effects of peer tutoring on interest in learning mathematics, perceptions of instructional methods and mathematics self-efficacy, as well as gender differences for the various variables.
Method – This study utilised the pretest-posttest with control group quasi-experimental research design. Two form four classes were randomly assigned to be taught using peer tutoring, and taught using lectures and exercises. The research instruments used in the study were a pretest, a posttest, and a questionnaire.
Findings – Results showed that students who received peer tutoring had higher gain scores in the mathematics achievement tests compared to those receiving traditional instruction. In addition, female students performed better in the mathematics achievement tests. However, there was no interaction effect between gender and instructional methods used. Students in the peer tutoring groups showed higher interest in learning mathematics and mathematics self-efficacy. They also showed positive perceptions toward peer tutoring. In the peer tutoring group, female students showed higher interest in mathematics than male students. However, gender differences were not evident for mathematics self-efficacy and perceptions toward peer tutoring. Thus, it could be concluded that peer tutoring is a potentially effective instructional method that could be practised in secondary mathematics teaching and learning in Malaysian schools in tandem with other existing instructional methods.
Value – Peer tutoring has not been widely studied in the context of the Malaysian classroom. This paper provides empirical findings supporting the effectiveness of peer tutoring as an instructional approach in enhancing students’ learning of mathematics irrespective of gender. In addition, peer tutoring can also augment students’ interest toward learning mathematics and their mathematics selfefficacy.
Keywords: peer tutoring, mathematics, interest to learn mathematics, mathematics self-effi cacy, perceptions, gender.

Penilaian Terhadap Prestasi Pelajar dan Pengurusan Program Praktikum Universiti Utara Malaysia
*Lim Khong Chiu, Nor Idayu Mahat, Shahizan Hassan, Abdul Razak Chik & Mohd Azlan Yahya
Universiti Utara Malaysia
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Kajian ini memberi fokus kepada maklum balas organisasi terhadap prestasi pelajar dan pengurusan program praktikum, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). Sebanyak 438 buah organisasi daripada pelbagai latar belakang industri telah mengambil bahagian dalam kajian ini. Kutipan data dilaksanakan dengan menggunakan soal selidik yang merangkumi lima komponen utama iaitu; profil responden dan organisasi, prestasi pelajar, prestasi pengurusan program praktikum, perbandingan prestasi dengan institusi pengajian lain dan kesesuaian program praktikum. Secara umumnya, kajian ini mendapati organisasi terlibat berpuas hati dengan prestasi pelajar UUM dalam persiapan mereka menempuh alam pekerjaan sebenar. Sistem pengurusan praktikum yang dilaksanakan di Pusat Jaringan Universiti-Industri (UIL) juga dianggap tersusun dan efisien. Di samping itu, hasil kajian ini juga menunjukkan tidak terdapat perbezaan yang ketara antara prestasi pelajar UUM dengan pelajar dari universiti yang lain. Beberapa cadangan penambahbaikan terhadap kemahiran pelajar dan system pengurusan praktikum di UUM telah dikenal pasti.