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Title: Accessing the learning lifeworld : transformative student learning experiences in regional academic travel at New York University Abu Dhabi
Author: Beckerman, Jason
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 0746
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis investigates the learning experiences of students who participated in short-term study abroad trips (also known as regional academic travel) offered by New York University Abu Dhabi’s Office of Global Education, with the objective of attaining an authentic account of these experiences. This authentic account supports a better understanding of a student’s experience, and leads to a more in-depth understanding of learning, which for this research is called the learning lifeworld. Phenomenography is used to capture the qualitative variation of individual experiences leading to four categories of description placed in logical relationship to one another yielding an outcome space of four conceptions of learning experience. Phenomenography alone, while reflective in nature, has limitations on determining an authentic account of experience. Therefore, it is helpful to draw upon reflective thinking ability, which produces information on each student’s ability to reason through an ill-structured problem, and puts students in a reflective thinking development stage, which is linked to a student’s critical reflection ability. Reflective judgment stages for each student were determined using the standard reflective judgment interview (King & Kitchener, 1994), and then compared against the instances conceptions of learning experience that appeared in each student account. A relationship was identified between instances of conceptions and the level of a student’s reflective thinking ability that could lead to a deeper understanding of the learning lifeworld through the language students used in responses from the phenomenographic interview and the reflective judgment interview. The findings of this research show that there were at least four qualitatively different ways students experienced regional academic travel trips. The categories developed through an analysis of student reflective accounts are: the regional academic travel experience complements and supplements classroom learning; develops academic skills; affects students’ future academic, personal, and professional endeavours; and offers students a chance to reflect on impacts they have made and can make in a community and the world. The results of this research make an original contribution to lifeworld theory, transformative learning, and short-term study abroad research by utilizing a unique combination of research approaches (phenomenography and reflective judgment to inform lifeworld theory and transformative learning) in a novel setting (NYU Abu Dhabi regional academic travel). The design of this research could be used for future studies to examine learning in an in-depth way, whilst assuring that the accounts given could be considered authentic. Finally, the results also led to recommendations for improvement of future regional academic travel trips offered by The Office of Global Education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: L Education (General) ; LB2300 Higher Education ; LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education ; LD Individual institutions (United States) ; LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)