University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 25.11.2017 Working life, here we come - with better language skills and with more readiness for self-directed learning A study of the students on a multi-form English course at the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences (Siekkinen)

Start date: Nov 25, 2017 12:00 PM

End date: Nov 25, 2017 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, H320

Hellä Siekkinen
Lic.Ph. Hellä Siekkinen defends her doctoral dissertation in Applied Linguistics ”Työelämä, täältä tullaan - kielitaitoisina ja itseohjautuvina - Tutkimus opiskelijoista monimuotoisesti toteutetulla englannin opintojaksolla Jyväskylän ammattikorkeakoulussa”. Opponent Professor Ritva Kantelinen (University of Eastern Finland) and custos Professor Ari Huhta (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish.


Working life, here we come – with better language skills and with more readiness for self-directed learning.

This is a study of the language learners on a multi-form English course (consisting of c. 50% contact instruction and of c. 50% independent learning) at the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences. There were 82 participants in the study, 53 of them had senior secondary school and 29 second level vocational education as their educational background.  They studied in six groups taught by four English teachers. The students' responsibility, activity, learning by doing, experiences and self-assessment were encouraged and emphasized.

The research questions were divided into three domains: 1. the learning outcomes 2. the students' readiness for self-directed learning 3. the feedback given by the students as well as by the teachers.

The data were collected during the years 2005-2006 by means of language tests, questionnaires, the SDLRS tests (Self-directed Learning Readiness Scale) as well as written and oral feedback.

The results showed that both the groups with differenent educational background improved their professional English language skills statistically significantly, but there was a significant difference between them in favour of the students with senior secondary school background. The men with second level vocational education had a statistically significant improvement in their self-directed learning, and the dimension called enthusiasm and creativity improved statistically significantly among majority of the students. It seems that by increasing learner initiative, activity, learning by doing, assessment as well as by supporting relaxed learning atmosphere it is possible to enhance the students' positive attitudes to learning and to increase their readiness for self-directed learning, which is regarded as a precondition for lifelong learning. Majority of the students as well as the teachers suggested that multi-form education can be used in the foreign language teaching, but special attention has to be paid to the instruction of oral language skills and group work.

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Hellä Siekkinen
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