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Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction (MJLI) Vol. 15, No. 2 Dec 2018

Oranit Chokchai & Phadungchai Pupat
Sana Anwar Lashari , Amrita Kaur & Rosna Awang-Hashim
Lim Ying Xuan, Abu Bakar Razali & Arshad Abd. Samad
S. Kanageswari Suppiah Shanmugam
Lok Boon Thian, Foong Peng Ng & Joo Ann Ewe
Siti Nazuar Sailin & Noor Aida Mahmor
Lim Chee Leong, Nurhanim Hassan, Filzah Md. Isa & Habibah Ab Jalil
Nagaletchimee Annamalai
Donnie Adams, Bambang Sumintono, Ahmed Mohamed & Nur Syafika Mohamad Noor
Hanita Mohd Yusoff & Norzaini Azman

A Student’s Scientific Mind: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis
1Oranit Chokchai & 2Phadungchai Pupat
Faculty of Industrial Education and Technology
King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
Bangkok, Thailand
1Corresponding author:
Purpose – The research aimed to examine the construct validity of a scientific-mind measurement model for secondary school students in Bangkok and the factor loading values of scientific-mind indicators.

Methodology – Stratified random sampling was used to select a sample of 500 Grade 8 students studying in a Bangkok school district during the 2016 academic year. Testing of scientific-mind measurement was used as the research instrument and construct validity testing of the scientific-mind measurement model utilized second-order confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was carried out with SPSS AMOS software Version 23.

Findings - The testing of the scientific-mind measurement model for secondary school students in Bangkok was consistent with the empirical data. The scientific-mind factors consisted of two indicators, including scientific attitudes and attitudes towards science. Scientific attitudes were comprised of nine indicators. The indicator with the highest factor loading value was creatively working with other people. Attitudes towards science contained four indicators. The indicator with the highest factor loading value was science value awareness.

Significance – The results revealed that teachers and educational administrators have the potential to use the study’s scientific-mind factors in their approaches to course development, as well as in designing a manual for learning management. The study’s model can also help in measurement and evaluation of secondary school students’ progress in developing a better scientific mind.

Keywords: Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), scientific attitudes, scientific mind, secondary students, science attitudes.

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Home Away from Home - The Role of Social Support for International Students’ Adjustment
1Sana Anwar Lashari , Amrita Kaur & Rosna Awang-Hashim
School of Education and Modern Languages,
Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:
Purpose – Academic and psychological adjustment of international students is central to their success while pursuing their degrees abroad. However, acculturation stress is abundant and may pose as a challenge. Thus, in this study we examined whether social support mediates the association between acculturation stress and academic and psychological adjustment.

Methodology – A cross sectional research design was employed. A total of 200 postgraduate international students from three Malaysian public universities were recruited to participate in the study. The Student Adjustment to College Questionnaire was employed to measure their academic adjustment and psychological adjustment. The Multidimensional Scale for Perceived Social Support and the Acculturative Stress Scale for International Students were used to collect data on social support and acculturation stress. Path analysis by AMOS 23 was used to test the hypothesized relationship.

Findings – Results provided support for the proposed model, revealing that social support was associated with greater academic and psychological adjustment among international students.

Significance – The present study has implications for university policies, counsellors, and student affairs departments on the need to take measures to facilitate healthy academic and psychological adjustment among international students.

Keywords: International students, higher education, acculturation stress, social support, academic adjustment and psychological adjustment.

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Self-Directed Learning Readiness (SDLR) among Foundation Students from High and Low Proficiency Levels to Learn English Language
Lim Ying Xuan, 1Abu Bakar Razali & Arshad Abd. Samad
Department of English Language, Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, Southern University College, Jalan Selatan Utama, Off Jalan Skudai, 81300 Skudai, Johor.
Department of Language and Humanities Education, Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:
Purpose – In the field of second language education, self-directed learning is really important as it can empower students to attain optimal success in language learning by engaging students to express their ideas confidently, think reflectively and make use of language learning strategies. The main aim of the present study is to investigate students’ self-directed learning readiness (SDLR) in a foundation program in a public university in Malaysia so as to find out how they perceive this approach can improve their learning of the English language at tertiary level. More specifically, the researchers intend to find answers to these research questions: 1) Are foundation students ready to use self-directed learning strategies in English Language learning? (i.e. awareness, motivation and language learning strategies); 2) Is there a significant difference in the three attributes (i.e., awareness, motivation and language learning strategies) of self-directed learning among foundation students?; and 3) Is there a significant difference between English language proficiency (upper and lower) and the three attributes (i.e., awareness, motivation, language learning strategies) in using self-directed learning strategies?

Methodology – A set of survey questionnaires with a 6-point Likert scale were administered to 400 students attending an English proficiency course (i.e., Introduction to Academic English) in the first semester of the Foundation Studies for Agricultural Science program. The data of the questionnaire were analyzed using descriptive statistics, independent samples t-test and paired samples t-test.

Findings – Results revealed that the respondents have a rather high degree of readiness to apply self-directed learning strategies in learning English. Motivation has the highest mean scores (M=4.57), followed by language learning strategies (M=4.41) and awareness (M=4.34). Results also showed that there are no difference in terms of SDLR depending on English proficiency levels, namely lower level (MUET Bands 1,2,3) and upper level (MUET Bands 4,5) (p>.05).

Significance – The findings are beneficial for students to learn more about their readiness to apply the self-directed learning strategies. In particular, these findings also provide insights for lecturers, program administrators, curriculum developers, and policy makers to plan and implement suitable teaching methods, course outlines, and curricula for the development of the students’ English language abilities.

Keywords: Self-directed learning readiness (SDLR), Motivation, Awareness, Language learning Strategies, Cognitive Strategies, Metacognitive Strategies.

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Determining Gender Differential Item Functioning for Mathematics in Coeducational School Culture
S. Kanageswari Suppiah Shanmugam
School of Education and Modern Languages
Universiti Utara Malaysia
Purpose In an attempt to explore item characteristics that behave differently between boys and girls, this comparative study examines gender Differential Item Functioning in a school culture that is noted to be ‘thriving’ mathematically.

Methodology - Some 24 grade eight mathematics items from TIMSS 2003 and TIMSS 2007 released items, with equal number of computation and word problem items were administered on 460 boys and 445 girls studying in Grade Eight from three secondary Chinese-medium coeducational schools. Word problem items were defined as items set in a real-world context. Content validity was established by constructing a table of specifications. By employing the software WINSTEPS version 3.67.0 that is based on the Rasch Model for dichotomous responses, Differential Item Functioning analysis was conducted by using Mantel-Haenszel Chi-square method. DIF items were flagged when the Mantel-Haenszel probability value was less than 0.05 and classified as negligible, moderate or large DIF based on the DIF size suggested by Educational Testing Service DIF category. The focal and reference groups were girls and boys respectively. The main delimitation was substantive analysis by using expert judgment was not conducted to identify biased items.

Findings - Using Mantel-Haenszel chi-square, two moderate DIF items that assess subtraction favoured girls. They assessed Knowing from topics Whole Number and Fraction. Sources of DIF are linguistics density and item presentation style. The findings suggest that with only two moderate DIF mathematics items, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that the mathematics items functioned differently between boys and girls in school culture noted for successful mathematics learning, even though linguistics complexities of the test language cannot be ignored.

Significance - While constructing Mathematics multiple choice items, careful considerations need to be given in selecting suitable numbers in composing the content of the item so that, only the correct algorithm would produce the correct answer ‘if and only if’ those numbers are used. The modest results of detecting two moderate DIF items nevertheless inform national testing agencies and teacher educators on the principles of building fair items as a part of their test improvement practice in the 21st Century. The novelty of this study is that gender Differential Item Functioning was studied in the context of school culture, which is notable for successful mathematics learning.

Keywords: Differential Item Functioning, coeducation, school culture, gender, computation item, word problem item, Mantel-Haenszel Chi-square, mathematics.

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Constructive Alignment of Graduate Capabilities: Insights from Implementation at a Private University in Malaysia
1Lok Boon Thian, 2Foong Peng Ng & 3Joo Ann Ewe
1Quality Advancement Department, Taylor’s University, Malaysia
2School of Architecture, Building and Design, Taylor’s University, Malaysia
3School of Biosciences, Taylor’s University, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:;
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to formulate a curriculum design framework, to test it and learn through pilot implementation, in order to systematically embed the graduate capabilities in the curricula, leveraging on Biggs’ constructive alignment framework. This paper aims to report the outcome of a study lasts for one year supporting a university’s curriculum transformation project.

Methodology – Guided by the research objectives of this study, the research approach is action research. More specifically, benchmarking visit was used for the first phase, the design phase, to propose a suitable curriculum design framework. Pilot implementation was used during the second phase. Two programmes from two faculties were selected. Data was collected through observation, interview and document analysis. Data was analysed through on-going analysis and final reflection.

Findings – This study presents a more detailed and practical curriculum design framework to support the development of graduate capabilities leveraging on Biggs’ constructive alignment framework. The key challenges faced and proposed strategies are consistent with existing studies. However, this paper argues for stronger emphasis on communicating compelling reason for change. This study reinforces that the process of constructive alignment remains challenging due to the iterative process of alignment at programme and module levels.

Significance – This paper has expanded Biggs’ constructive alignment operational framework by offering more detailed and practical steps to ensure curriculum design effectively supports the development of graduate capabilities. The insights are especially useful for young universities with limited experience and yet have the ambition to transform its curriculum to develop institution-wide graduate capabilities leveraging on Biggs’ constructive alignment framework. The insights are useful for improving countries’ policy and implementation strategies too.

Keywords: Graduate capabilities, constructive alignment, curriculum transformation, curriculum design framework, Malaysia.

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Improving Student Teachers’ Digital Pedagogy through Meaningful Learning Activities
1Siti Nazuar Sailin & Noor Aida Mahmor
School of Education and Modern Languages, College of Arts and Sciences, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:
Purpose – This study aims to examine the attributes of meaningful learning that student teachers perceived as enabling them to improve their digital pedagogy. It is concerned with how the meaningful learning activities help to prepare student teachers to successfully integrate digital technologies in their future teaching practice.

Methodology – This study adopted a qualitative research design and was underpinned by a meaningful learning theory as the theoretical and analytical framework. A total of 24 final year student teachers participated in this study. Data were mainly collected through student teachers’ reflections regarding their learning experience. Thematic analysis was utilized to analyze and present the findings.

Findings –The findings offer some important insights into how the learning activities carried out in this Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project have directly and indirectly accelerated the acquisition of all the five attributes of meaningful learning. The findings of this study reveal that meaningful learning activities contribute to the improvement of the student teachers’ knowledge of and skills in using Web 2.0. This improvement has boosted their confidence to integrate digital pedagogy in future teaching practices. The findings also indicate that although student teachers value their experiences in meaningful learning activities, they have some concerns regarding firstly, their capacities in applying digital pedagogy and secondly, the practicality of integrating Web 2.0 tools in the school setting because of several inherent limitations.

Significance – Meaningful learning activities when incorporated into teacher training programmes will expose student teachers to authentic experiences which will be beneficial for their own learning and future teaching practice.

Keywords: SoTL, meaningful learning, active learning, collaborative learning, digital pedagogy, technological pedagogical knowledge, Web 2.0 Tools, project-based learning, student teachers.

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Mobile X-Space Design, Teaching Strategies and Undergraduate Students’ Collaborative Learning Behaviour: A Case Study in Taylor’s University, Malaysia
1,3Lim Chee Leong, 1Nurhanim Hassan, 2Filzah Md. Isa & 3Habibah Ab Jalil
1e-Learning Academy, INTELLECT,
2Taylor’s Business School, Taylor’s University
3Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
Corresponding author:
Purpose - The availability of new innovative learning spaces together with the introduction of new teaching and learning strategies have shifted the nature of the classroom from a place of instruction towards a place that produces authentic learning. Students in the 21st century are inclined to learn with peers, through the use technology to produce the information as the result of their collaboration. This research examines the effect of learning space design and teaching strategies on undergraduate students’ collaborative learning behaviour in the Mobile X-Space classroom.

Methodology - This study used a quantitative survey research design to measure students’ learning experience in the Mobile X-Space classroom. A set of online self-reported questionnaire was posted through the official Learning Management System of the university to collect data from 467 undergraduate students in a Malaysian top private university. Through exploratory factor analysis, three factors were identified: (a) teaching strategies, (b) collaborative learning behaviour and (c) space design. Pearson’s correlation and multiple regression were run to assess the relationship between learning space design and teaching strategies conducted by the lecturers on the collaborative learning behaviour of the students. Two-way factorial ANOVA with Post Hoc tests were performed to determine the effects of gender and study semester of the students on their collaborative learning behaviour.

Findings - The results from the multiple regression analysis revealed that both (i) teaching strategies, and (ii) space design were positively correlated with collaborative learning behaviour of the students. The results from Person’s correlation showed a significant, strong and positive relationship between teaching strategies conducted by the lecturers on the collaborative learning behaviour among the students. Also, there was a statistically significant, strong and positive relationship between learning space design on the teaching strategies of the lecturers. In addition, the results from two-way factorial ANOVA showed that collaborative learning behaviour was different for groups in different study semesters. However, there was no statistically significant difference for collaborative learning behaviour between different genders in all semesters.

Significance - The outcomes of this research will be beneficial in enhancing the support and design of future learning spaces and add value to the present educational model. It is also beneficial in guiding academics in determining the practical teaching and learning approaches in the flexible learning spaces, which could be more suitable for the millennium youth who are more tech-savvy and favour Internet of things in their daily lives. This type of learning space will help to improve the students’ soft skills and collaborative skills, that are very useful in their future employability in the actual work settings.

Keywords: Learning spaces design, active learning, gender differences in collaborative learning, next generation learning, collaborative learning behaviour, mobile X-space.

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How Do We Know What is Happening in Whatsapp: A Case Study Investigating Pre-Service Teachers’ Online Activity
Nagaletchimee Annamalai
School of Distance Education
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
Purpose - This study addresses the issue of investigating on how lecturers used WhatsApp in educational context and what are the pre-service teachers’ views when WhatsApp is used in teaching and learning activities.

Methodology - A qualitative case study was conducted in this study. Two lecturers were interviewed individually to investigate the teaching approach integrated with the use of WhatsApp. Also, 12 pre-service teachers in two focus groups were interviewed to examine their views of using WhatsApp in completing their tasks.

Findings - The lecturers employed blended learning approach and were not keen to entirely conduct their lessons in the online learning environment. The focus group interviews were conducted to bring the data together to generate emerging themes related to positive and negative views of pre-service teachers when they were engaged on WhatsApp for learning activities. The positive themes were related to bite size learning, seamless learning, 21st century learning, WhatsApp as a platform to support learning and as an extended interaction space.

Practical Implications - The study may influence the use of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) tools in education. It also contributes to new ideas and knowledge on how teachers and learners can conceptualize and use ICT. There is a strong case to argue for instructors to be actively involved in interactions to guide students to develop knowledge and ideas.

Keywords: WhatsApp, online environment, interactions, mobile instant messaging.

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E-Learning Readiness among Students of Diverse Backgrounds in a Leading Malaysian Higher Education Institution
1Donnie Adams, Bambang Sumintono, Ahmed Mohamed & Nur Syafika Mohamad Noor
Institute of Educational Leadership, Faculty of Education
University of Malaya, Malaysia
1Corresponding author:
Purpose - Blended learning is rapidly emerging as a domain for practice and research. Across disciplines and contexts, at individual instructor and institution levels, educators are experimenting with the blended learning model of instruction. The current generation of learners have been referred to as ‘digital natives’ in reflection of their apparent ease and familiarity with digital technology. However, questions remain about how ready students are for a blended learning model of instruction. The purpose of the study was to investigate students’ readiness for a blended learning model of instruction in a leading Malaysian higher education institution.

Methodology - The study employed a non-experimental quantitative research design. Data were gathered from a sample of 235 undergraduate and 131 postgraduate students using the Blended Learning Readiness Engagement Questionnaire (BLREQ). The data was analysed using the WINSTEPS Rasch model measurement software to determine the validity and reliability of the instrument. Differential Item Functioning (DIF) analysis was also used to identify responses based on students’ demographic profiles.

Findings - Findings identified that students were ready for blended learning. Further analysis indicated that there were differences in students’ readiness for blended learning based on gender, age, ethnicity, field of study, and level of education.

Significance - This study provides insights on students’ readiness towards blended learning, particularly in the Malaysian context, discusses implications for blended learning practices in higher education institutions, and offers recommendations for future research.

Keywords: Blended learning, E-learning, gender differences, student diversity, higher education institution.

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Pencapaian Akademik Murid Lelaki dan Perempuan: Peranan Sokongan Pembelajaran dan Keterlibatan Murid 
1Hanita Mohd Yusoff & 2Norzaini Azman
1,2Fakulti Pendidikan,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
2Corresponding author:
Tujuan - Kajian ini bertujuan untuk meneliti hubungan keterlibatan murid, sokongan pembelajaran dan pencapaian akademik mengikut gender. Ia juga meneliti sama ada terdapat peranan keterlibatan sebagai perantara bagi hubungan antara faktor sokongan pembelajaran dan pencapaian murid.

Metodologi - Tinjauan keratan rentas digunakan untuk mengumpul data yang melibatkan keterlibatan murid di sekolah, sokongan pembelajaran dan pencapaian akademik. Sampel kajian adalah seramai 800 orang murid yang berumur 16 tahun (lelaki n=400 dan perempuan n=400) dari sekolah menengah kawasan bandar dan luar bandar dalam daerah Kuala Selangor. Instrumen tinjauan keterlibatan murid di sekolah (The Student Engagement Scale, Lam et al.,2009) merupakan instrumen yang digunakan untuk pengumpulan data. Analisis inferensi korelasi Pearson dan regresi berganda dijalankan untuk menentukan hubungan dan sumbangan antara pemboleh ubah. Analisis model persamaan berstruktur (SEM) dilaksanakan untuk mengenal pasti peranan keterlibatan sebagai perantara bagi faktor sokongan pembelajaran dan pencapaian akademik murid, mengikut gender.

Dapatan - Dapatan kajian menunjukkan hubungan yang signifikan antara keterlibatan murid, sokongan pembelajaran dan pencapaian akademik. Keterlibatan murid merupakan perantara bagi faktor sumbangan sokongan pembelajaran dan pencapaian akademik murid lelaki dan perempuan.

Kepentingan - Hasil kajian ini dapat mengukuhkan teori peranan sokongan pembelajaran terhadap pencapaian murid, perbezaan gender dalam keterlibatan agar program intervensi dapat ditambahbaik bagi meningkatkan keberhasilan keterlibatan murid.

Kata kunci: Gender, keterlibatan murid, sokongan pembelajaran, pencapaian.

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