THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEACHING STYLE AND UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS’ CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN E-LEARNING AMONG IN SELECTED UNIVERSITIES IN KENYA
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teaching style and undergraduate students’ critical thinking skills in e-learning among in selected universities in Kenya
Methodology: The quantitative approach was applied in the collection and analysis of data guided by the descriptive correlational design. A sample of 169 undergraduate students was used from four selected universities and data collected using questionnaires. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were generated using appropriate data analysis software. The findings are presented using tables.
Results: The correlation results indicated that there was significantly positive but weak relationship between teaching style and undergraduate students’ critical thinking skills in e-learning. This was supported by a Pearson correlation value of 0.326 and p value of 0.000.
Contribution of the study: This study showed that a balance of cognitive presence, teaching presence and social presence as envisaged in Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s (2000) community of inquiry (CoI) theoretical model led to the development of weak critical thinking skills among undergraduate students taking e-learning in Kenya. The findings affirm the claims of the CoI that if the above three mutually reinforcing elements of the community of inquiry theoretical model are strengthened, we will more likely develop strong critical thinking skills among undergraduate students. The findings of this study demonstrate the applicability of the CoI in an African context. Students in the African context see the role of the teacher as key especially in the design, facilitation and regulation of e-learning that is more likely lead to critical thinking. As such, teachers need to be involved in the design and teaching of e-learning. According to the CoI, factors such as the educational context, communication medium and applications used may affect meaningful learning and interrupt a functional CoI, such that even when balance is achieved in social, cognitive and teaching presence, critical thinking skills may not be strong. The findings of this study corroborates this finding in an African context in that although the students viewed teaching style used by different lecturers as having the right balance as envisaged in the CoI, the critical thinking skills were still weak. As a result, the results of this study acts as a ground for interrogating other factors within the socio-cultural educational milieu that may be acting as an impediment to the development of strong critical thinking skills.
Keywords: teaching style, undergraduate students, critical thinking skills, e-learning
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