Understanding the variation in MBA students’ experience of Learning Technology in Pakistan

Timsal, Ahmad and Hodgson, Vivien and Shah, Uzair (2020) Understanding the variation in MBA students’ experience of Learning Technology in Pakistan. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The advances in information and communication technology (ICT), particularly in the last few years, have influenced teaching and learning activities across educational institutions. There has also been an increase in research studies that explore how students and teachers interact with diverse types of digital technologies available to them. However, despite this rapid expansion of digital learning across the world, little research has been published on how Pakistani campus-based students interact with technology during their studies. This research study explores the different ways in which MBA students experience learning technology within a less developed and under-explored educational context of Pakistan. Phenomenography has been used as the research approach to highlight the variation in students’ experience of learning technology and the contextual factors within which this experience is situated. In phenomenographic terms, experience represents an internal relationship between the experiencer (i.e., MBA students) and the that which is experienced (i.e., learning technology). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 45 students in two of the leading business schools of Pakistan. These data sets were analysed using the referential/structural framework of phenomenography, based on Aron Gurwitsch’s theory about Anatomy of Human Awareness. The referential aspect formed the basis of analysing the variation in the meanings these students associated with their experience of learning technology, while the structural aspect facilitated in understanding the ‘figure-ground’ relationship of this experience. The analysis of the student descriptions reveals three distinct ways of experiencing learning technology, i.e., engaged, instrumental, and alienated. Each of these categories of description also highlights the strong interplay of the contextual factors which influence the students’ experience of technology, such as their socio-economic backgrounds, prior exposure to technology, variation in teaching approaches, to name a few. Two of these categories of description link closely to the established phenomenographic concepts of deep and surface level approaches presented by Marton and Säljö (1976, 1984) and further elaborated by Ramsden and Entwistle (1983) and Biggs (1987). The third category (alienated experience) offers a transitional dimension in which the students describe how they transition from an initial phase of isolation and adjust to their learning environment. This study's significance derives from the way it provides insight into the experience of these MBA students based in a majorly instructor-led learning environment, within a less developed country. The findings highlight how students in these regions, when exposed to different types of digital technologies, make an effort to change from mere passive recipients of knowledge to active participants. The students’ descriptions of experience reveal that the use of learning technology enables them to understand that help and support are available to them beyond their classrooms and from people other than their teachers – a phenomenon that has not been very common in Pakistani universities.

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18 Nov 2020 12:49
Last Modified:
04 May 2024 23:38