Students’ Perspective of Practical Work in Learning Sciences

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This paper is based on the outcomes of a research project “Learning Science at a Distance: Students' Perspective of Practical Work”, funded by the President’s Advisory Committee on Research and Development (PACRD) at the Open University of Hong Kong. Two foundation science courses offered by the School of Science and Technology at the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) were selected for the study. This paper focuses on students' perspectives on various aspects of learning science via online distance learning mode, such as expectations, learning outcomes, and satisfaction. A series of in-depth interviews was carried out with students enrolled in these courses, followed by questionnaire surveys and field observations in order to validate and triangulate the interview data. The paper is divided into six sections as background, literature review, objectives, sample and method, findings, and conclusion. In the section of findings, there are four sub-sections: expectations of practical work, learning outcomes, overall perceptions of the practical work, and significant differences in terms of students’ familiarity with course subject. The findings revealed that students placed a high value on practical work in science courses. Moreover, the more familiar with the course subject, the less difficulty they anticipate in learning science via online distance education. Two significant correlations were also found. The first one was between the perception of practical work and satisfaction, while the second one was between the attendance rate and the perception of practical work with online distance learning at OUHK. This research adds to knowledge of discipline-based online distance education research in terms of empirical data in both qualitative and quantitative forms.


Keywords: Online distance learning, Practical work, Learning science, Learning expectation, Learning outcome
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity, Technology in Learning; Maths, Science and Technology Learning
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Students’ Perspective of Practical Work in Learning Sciences


Dr. Jason K. Y. Chan

Doctoral Candidate, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol
Hong Kong

Jason Chan earned a credential of Stanford Certified Project Manager (SCPM) from Stanford University in 2007. He graduated from the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a Master degree in Educational Technology in 2005. In 2004 and 1998, he obtained his MSc in Computing and BA (1st Hons) in Public & Social Administration from City University of Hong Kong, respectively. At present, he is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Education of the University of Bristol. As for his research experiences, he participated in several research and development projects within the field of education at several tertiary institutions such as the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Open University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Institute of Education and City University of Hong Kong. During 2002-2005, he was a Management Team Member in Global Distance Education Network project funded by World Bank and administrated by the Commonwealth of Learning. Currently, he is a Manager (Research) of Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, a policy think tank in Hong Kong. His professional affiliations include membership of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (MIEEE). Jason is also a member of Mensa.

Eunice Pui-Yu Yim

Doctoral candidate, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol
Hong Kong


Ref: L08P0007