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Learning Environments Research

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 99–119 | Cite as

Constructivist learning and openness to diversity and challenge in higher education environments

  • Dorit Alt
Original Paper

Abstract

The increasing calls for diversity research signal a need to explore contemporary learning and instruction strategies that respond to diversity in courses and curricula. The major objective of this research was to measure the level of openness to diversity and challenge (ODC) among college students as a function of their perceived constructivist learning environment in traditional lecture-based courses (LBE) and seminars (SM). The study included 243 undergraduate students. Data were gathered using the Constructivist Learning in Higher Education Settings scale (CLHES), which measures students’ perceptions of the occurrence of constructivist practices in learning environments along three dimensions of constructive activity, teacherstudent interaction and social activity, and the Openness to Diversity and Challenge scale. Structural equation modelling (SEM) results indicated a positive connection between the general factor of CLHES and ODC over and above several pre-entry variables such as gender and culture. According to a further SEM analysis, the social activity variable mainly explained the ODC variable whereas the teacherstudent interaction factor was mainly connected to the constructive activity variable. Multivariate analysis of variance results indicated that students enrolled in SM perceived this environment as more constructivist and reported having higher levels of feelings of ODC than LBE students. Interpretation of these findings, in conjunction with theory, applications, and implications for future research are discussed.

Keywords

Constructivist learning environments Higher education Openness to diversity and challenge 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kinneret College on the Sea of GalileeJordan ValleyIsrael

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