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Preference for a Learning Environment and Academic Performance of Students in a Selected College of Nursing

By jasonspencers Mar 30, 2011 9095 Words
CHAPTER I
THE PROBLEM

Introduction
Learning environment refers to the physical characteristics of the surroundings of the students when learning. These may vary depending on environmental elements such as sound, light, temperature, and design (Tenedero, 2009). Sound is the first element of the learning environment. Most students are contented with only one sound inside the classroom. This sound refers to the teacher’s voice - explaining the lesson, giving out instructions or assignments, or scolding a student or the entire class (Tenedero, 2009). Some learners prefer total silence or minimum sound because sound acts as a distraction to their effective learning (Senge, 2006). A study done by an American, named James Wallace (2008), mentioned that Filipino students prefer a quiet environment rather than having music or other sounds when studying. However, there are researches which showed that many students prefer to listen to a lecture or study on their own with some background music on because it makes them more receptive to learning (Tenedero, 2009). Light is the second element of the learning environment. Brighter lightings can reduce visual problems, fatigue, and posture problems and produce effective learning which helps improve students’ academic performance (Jensen, 2006). However, research also shows that there are many students who perform significantly better in low light environments because bright lights make them restless, fidgety, and hyperactive. Dimmed light environments calm down many learners and it makes them relax and think clearly (Prashnig, 2006). Temperature is another element that plays a key role in the learning environment. If a student is too cold or too hot, he will have a hard time concentrating on his learning tasks (Moore, 2007). There is research evidence that the brain functions well at lower temperatures instead of when they are overheated. Heat stress can lower the scores on the intellectual tasks of reasoning, thinking and decision making, and other physical tasks (London, 2006). Filipino students also prefer cool temperatures and believe that they do not perform well when it is warm (Wallace, 2008). However, other researchers stated that students benefit more from a warm environment. Some students prefer working in warm environments in order to keep awake and focus more on studying (Queen, 2007). Design is the last element that should be considered in a learning environment. Design could be formal or informal. In a traditional and formal setting, chairs and tables arranged in rows are used by students during classes; while in an informal setting, students are allowed to sit on the floor, couch, throw pillows or carpet. Every student also has a different preference when it comes to postural position. Some students learn best when sitting up straight in hard chairs (Moore, 2007). However, some learners prefer informal arrangements to avoid fatigue and discomfort. Also, some perform better in academics when they could arrange the seating to suit their preferences or choose where they sit (Bastable, 2008). As mentioned, a lot of studies have been conducted regarding the type of environment and its possible influences to learning performance. Most of the studies conducted, however, differ in the results. There were researchers who showed contradicting information regarding each element of the learning environment and its association with the grades of the students. With these established inadequacies and inaccuracies in the previous researches, there is certainly a need for further study to provide more clarification and verification of the existing theories related to the variables at hand.

Background of the Study
In a selected college of nursing, the researchers noticed that students have different preferred learning environments. However, the usual classroom set up doesn’t fully provide for this variability since the chairs are limited to a specific type, the lighting is dependent on the teacher and the temperature and sounds cannot be easily manipulated. The researchers, being students in the selected college themselves, are curious to know if these problems they encountered have a relevance to their grades. With this, the researchers want to validate whether the preferred learning environment could indeed influence the academic performance of the students in order to come up with some recommendations which would promote adjustments to the school setting which may lean toward better academic performance.

Statement of the Problem
Major Problem
The study will determine the relationship between the preference for a learning environment and academic performance of students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of the Academic Year 2011-2012.

Minor Problems
Specifically, this study seeks to answer the following:
1.What is the preferred learning environment of students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of the Academic Year 2011-2012 as to: a.Sound
b.Light
c.Temperature
d.Design
2.What is the academic performance of the students in a selected college of nursing during the second semester of the Academic Year 2010-2011 as to: a.Second Year
b.Third Year
c.Fourth Year
3. What is the relationship between the preference for a learning environment and academic performance of students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of the Academic Year 2011-2012?

Hypothesis
H01There is no significant relationship between preference for a learning environment as to sound element and academic performance of students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of the academic year 2011-2012. H02There is no significant relationship between preference for a learning environment as to light element and academic performance of students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of the academic year 2011-2012. H03 There is no significant relationship between preference for a learning environment as temperature element and academic performance of students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of the academic year 2011-2012. H04There is no significant relationship between preference for a learning environment as to design element and academic performance of students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of the academic year 2011-2012. H05There is no significant relationship between preference for a learning environment and academic performance of students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of the academic year 2011-2012.

Significance of the Study
The result of this study is aimed to benefit the following:
Students. It will serve as a guide that will help them in adjusting their learning environment which may promote the level of learning they want to achieve.

Faculty Members. This study will guide them in adjusting their teaching styles, taking into consideration the preferred learning environments of the students.

School Administration. It will guide them in modifying the school environment in order to promote better learning for the students.

Future Researchers. It will serve as baseline data for future studies regarding the relationship of preference for a learning environment and academic performance.

Scope and Limitation
This study will determine the relationship between preference for a learning environment and academic performance of second, third and fourth year nursing students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of Academic Year 2011-2012. A researcher-made questionnaire based on related literatures presented will be utilized in the study. This will aid in the assessment and measurement of the preference for a learning environment of the respondents. On the other hand, the average grades of the students during the second semester of Academic Year 2010-2011 will be obtained from the Registrar’s Office of the said school to serve as an indicator of their academic performance. Furthermore, data gathering will be done during the first semester of Academic Year 2011-2012. This study focuses on the elements of a learning environment – sound, light, temperature, and design, which is based on Dunn and Dunn’s learning theory. Irregular students will not be included in the sample since they have different subject loads that can alter the results of the study.

Definition of Terms
The following are the operational definitions of the key variables in the study:

Preference for a learning environment refers to the choice of physical setting of the students in a selected college of nursing when studying, as to the following elements: sound, light, temperature and design.

Academic Performance is the grade point average obtained by the nursing students during second semester of the academic year 2010-2011.

CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

In this chapter, a review of related literature of different authors are presented to support the present study. This is followed by the theoretical framework which is based on the work of Dunn and Dunn.

Preference for a Learning Environment and Academic Performance

American Association of School Administrators. (2006). Learning styles: Putting research and common sense into practice. Arlington, Virginia: Harper & Row.
There are four elements of the environmental stimuli. The first one is sound which refers to a student’s preference for background music while learning. The next one is the light element which refers to level of light students prefer while studying or learning. Another is the temperature element which is the level of temperature favored by students - warm or cool. The last element is the design which is associated with the room and furniture arrangements that the students select while learning. This related literature was utilized in defining the elements of the learning environment which will be used throughout the study.

Bastable, S. (2008). Nurse as educator: Principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice. 3rd edition. Ontario, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publisher. Individuals react to sound in different ways. Some need complete silence, others are able to block out sounds around them and still others require sound in their environment for learning. Thus, the educator should permit learners to study either in silent areas or with music from headsets to prevent interfering with those who need to be quiet. This literature will be utilized by the researchers in the analysis and interpretation of data. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Bastable, S. (2008). Nurse as educator: Principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice. 3rd edition. Ontario, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publisher. Some learners are more relaxed and can perform better in informal environments by being able to position themselves in a lounge chair, on the floor and on pillows. If possible, the educator should vary the furniture in the classroom to allow some to sit more formally or informally while learning.

This literature will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of data.

Charney, J. (2008). New York NYSTCE CST English .Piscataway, New Jersey: Research and Education Association Inc.
Students seem to learn best when they can listen to music while studying or doing homework. Some researchers have found evidence that students who prefer sound learn best when classical or instrumental music is played in background. Light is another environmental factor of student preferences while studying. Students show improvement in their academic achievements and it was stated that strong lighting produces effective learning. Temperature and design are two other environmental factors affecting student’s performance. Some students will prefer warmer temperatures whereas others will prefer cooler temperatures. Finally, some students will prefer to sit in straight-backed chairs at desks while others may prefer to sit soft, comfy chairs or to sit or recline on the floor. Although traditional classrooms are structured to provide quiet, brightly illuminated study and work areas with straight-backed chairs and desks, the teachers will observe this environment meets the needs of only some of the learners in the class. Classroom temperature may seem to be beyond the control of the teacher, students can be advised to dress in layers so that they can remove their garments when they are too warm and put on more layers when they are cool. The related literature emphasized that educators must take into consideration the proper environment of students to promote better learning. This will be utilized to support the analysis and interpretation of the present study.

Clawson, J. & Haskins, M. (2006). Teaching management: A field guide for professors, consultants, and corporate trainers. England, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Learning occurs in physical settings and it is a function of the relationship between the senses and the brain’s processing. If the five senses are diverted from the subject matter by irrelevant design, sounds, experiences such as too hot or too cold or lighting too dim or too bright, learning is inhibited. This related literature will be used as a guide in formulating questions for the researcher-made tool.

Earthman, G. I. (2006). School facility conditions and student academic achievement. Los Angeles, California: William Watch Series.
Proper and accurate hearing is essential to students’ ability to learn in the classroom. Many studies have determined that level of noise in the classroom can interfere with students’ learning. Students may appear tense in noisy classrooms. They learn more when the classroom noise level is reduced to minimum level. The ability to clearly hear and understand what is being spoken is relevant for effective learning. Thus, when this ability is altered through loud noise, students do not perform well. This article shows that hearing also has a major role in student’s learning. Things that can interfere or distract hearing can greatly affect a student’s way of learning. This article will serve as a guide to formulate questions that will be used in data gathering.

Gelfand, L. & Freed, E. (2010). Sustainable school architecture: Design for elementary and secondary schools Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons Inc.
Excessive noise in the classroom interferes with knowledge retention, concentration, mental health, and ongoing success of students and teachers. Studies show that background noise levels can affect student scores and may also cause students to become disinterested or discouraged. This literature shows that excessive noise has a big impact on student’s learning. It will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Glass, D. (2006). Environmental influences. New York: Thomson Delmar Learning, Inc.
A child changes, develops, and learns by organizing his behavior and aspects of his behavior and aspects of his environment into systems or structures. As his competence develops, the child becomes increasingly better able to handle particular environments or particular aspect including light, sound, temperature, and design. When a child determines where he performs more effectively in certain environments and select environmental elements suited for their capacities, they will improve their cognitive structure. This related literature will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of data.

Graetz, K. (2009). Learning spaces. New York: Scholastic Press. Previous researches on the effects of the environmental variables including light, temperature, and noise on learning had results which are addressed through traditional classroom design. In most college classrooms, learning appears to be adversely affected by inadequate light, extreme temperatures, and loud noises. In conclusion, environmental variables can have an indirect impact on learners and the effects of different physical settings often depend on the nature of the task and the learner. This related literature will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the data for the present study. Hunt, G., Touzel, T. & Wiseman D. (2009). Effective teaching: Preparation and implementation. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publisher. There are many factors associated with the classroom environment that can be rather controlled by the teacher especially the room temperature and arrangement of the seats. Some students seem to learn best in a quiet setting as noise disrupts their learning process. The amount of light also has an effect on the learning of students. Room temperature has also been found to have an effect on learning. Some students learn best when the temperature is warm. If possible classrooms should be arranged so that there are variations in room temperature. The teachers must be aware of how close or far away from heaters and air conditioners certain students should sit to do their best work. A final consideration about the environment is its degree of casualness or formality. Some students simply do not learn well in a restrictive environment that requires them to sit quietly without moving. One can only speculate about how many students have developed behavioral problems because they could not adjust to the restrictive environment of classical teaching learning setting. It also should be noted, however that there are many other students who cannot learn at their best unless they are in an environment that provides a quiet, peaceful, disciplined, and controlled setting. This related literature presented that the teachers need to be aware of their students’ environmental preferences for learning. This will be utilized in supporting the analysis and interpretation of the data. It will also be a basis in formulating questions for the instrument.

Ittelson,W. (2007). Environmental psychology. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press, Inc.
From a scientist’s point of view, the ability of modern technology to plan and construct a large variety of physical settings to meet the specification of any human functions, activities, and relationships meant that the effect of the physical environment were predictable and controllable. Thus, for a child to learn, he/she needs to feel at ease, comfortable, and secure. It follows therefore that schools must be light, airy and roomy and beyond that how and whether the child learns will depend on psychological and social determinants. This related literature will be used to support the analysis and interpretation of the study.

Jensen, E. (2006). Brain – based learning. San Diego, USA: The Brain Store. According to research, learning can also be affected by light. When there is the presence of bright light, visual problems, fatigue and postural problems were reduced. Overall the children showed improvement in their academic achievements and it was concluded that strong lighting produces effective learning. The related literature showed the importance of strong lighting because it can promote better learning and improve academic performance of students. This was utilized in the introduction part and it will also be used in supporting the analysis and interpretation of the study.

Jones, B. (2011). The effects of classroom arrangement on learning. Ehow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_7818915_effects-classroom-arrangement- learning.html
Every student is different and has unique ways on how to learn well. Some students want to be in silence in order to concentrate, while some students want to listen to soft music and not be disturbed by the voices of others. On the other hand, some students do not want to study in a bright light while some students need bright lights to keep them motivated. This article suggested that each type of learner should have their own space in the classroom, like a cubicle-style desk for learners who prefer silence. Another area with music or headphones will be effective for others. Also, lamps should be provided to manipulate the lighting of the classroom. This literature presented that each student has his own environmental preference for learning. This will be utilized to support the analysis and interpretation of data.

Kochhar-Bryant, C. & Heishman, A. (2010). Effective collaboration for educating the whole child. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press. Classrooms that are illuminated by natural light have been found to have positive impact on learning and test scores (Hunley, 2008; Schneider, 2002). A mixture of daylight and other forms of lighting with dimmer switches may provide flexibility for instructional purposes or to adjust the needs of the class, whether to reduce stress, elevate mood, build morale or increase performance. Many students are distracted by environmental noise. It is important for schools to consider how to minimize distracting and unpleasant sounds. (Gee, 2006; Hunley, 2008) This related literature stated that sounds and light greatly affect students’ performance in school. This will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the study.

Legge, K. & Harari, P. (2006). Psychology and education. Great Britain: The Bath Press Ltd.
Most of the teachers assume that noise in the classroom hinders the students’ learning. That’s why they spend a lot of effort attempting to keep noise levels low so that students can concentrate better. However, the relationship between noise and student performance are not straightforward. Different students react to noise in different ways depending on individual characteristics such as gender, motivation, ability, personality and so on. Noise can have adverse effects on performance on certain types of tasks and actually enhance performance in others. This related literature shows that sound influences the students’ performance and ability to focus during discussion in the classroom. This will be utilized to support the analysis and interpretation of the study.

London, W. (2006). Learning environments for information literacy. London: Brain Mind Bulletin Collections.
According to the author, there is research evidence that the brain functions well at warm temperature. Too cold temperatures can lower the scores on the intellectual tasks of reasoning, thinking and decision making of students. This related literature showed that lower room temperature can help the students function well. This will be utilized in the introduction part of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Lucas, R. (2010). Energize your training: creative technique to engage learners. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.
According to the author, there were numerous studies about the effect of lighting on the brain and learning environments. Previous studies found that the type and degree of natural light affects such things as attendance levels and learners’ mental states. The literature presented that lighting is a big factor on student learning. This will be utilized in the supporting the analysis and interpretation of the study.

Mallick, M.K. (2003). Talented children identification and education. New Delhi, India: Discovery Publishing House.

According to Mallick, individual reactions to temperature are unique. Some students can concentrate better in cool environment; when it becomes warm they cannot function well. This related literature showed that students can perform better in a cool environment. It will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Miller, S. P. (2009). Validated practice for teaching students with diverse needs and abilities. Boston, Massachusetts: Merrill.
Psychosocial and procedural dimensions are not the only aspects that should be considered in having a good classroom but teachers should also consider the physical dimension. The author also concluded that the design of the classroom environment is very important since it can affect the academic performance of students. One of the best ways in doing it is by physically arranging the classroom especially the desk of the students. But before doing it, teachers should know their instructional goals and the characteristics of the students for them to know where to place the students so they can meet the learning needs of the learners. This literature stated that the design of the classroom can affect a student’s academic performance. It will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Moore, C. (2007). Learning styles: Classroom adaptation. New York: Scholastic Press.
The classroom environment can also have a big effect on the amount of learning that occurs in every student. People are different and have different preferences for a learning environment. Therefore, it is important to know and understand what affects the learning process. Some students find sound distracting and some find it calming. Room temperature also plays a key role in learning. If a student is too cold or too hot, he will have more of a hard time concentrating on what his learning task is. With regards to lighting, some students may need to sit by a bright reading lamp while others may get a headache when too much light is present. Another element that should be considered to promote a learning-conducive environment is the design. Design could be formal or informal. A formal setting is the traditional desk and chair or a table. An informal setting is the floor, a couch, throw pillows or carpet. Every student also has different preferences when it comes to postural position. Some students learn best when sitting up straight on hard chairs. This related literature presented that environment has a big impact on a student’s learning process. It was utilized in the introduction part and will also be used to support the analysis and interpretation of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Nidoy, R.A. (2008). Geared to achieve: A study manual. Washington, DC: Princeton University Press.
There should be proper lighting to lessen the extra work of the eyes so that students can perform well. Proper lighting will reduce strain in the eyes. It also suggests that dim lights should be applied in the classroom for the students to focus well on their studies and so that the eyes will wander less. This article emphasized the importance of dim lighting to students’ performance. It will be utilized to support the analysis and interpretation of the study.

Prashnig, B. (2006). The power of diversity: New ways of learning and teaching through learning styles. United Kingdom: Network Educational Press Ltd. According to the author, many students perform significantly better in a dimly lit environment and that bright light makes them restless, fidgety and hyperactive. She also added that dimmed light calms many learners down and helps them relax and think clearly. This related literature will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Prashnig, B. (2006). The power of diversity: New ways of learning and teaching through learning styles. United Kingdom: Network educational Press Ltd. Research reveals that many adults think and remember best when studying with background music and findings in Switzerland shows that most students prefer music or noisy environments for studying and are unable to concentrate when it is quiet. This related literature mentions that background music helps students to focus more rather than when learning in a quiet environment. This was be utilized in the introduction of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Queen, A. (2007). The block scheduling handbook. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press, Inc.
Students prefer working under warm temperature in order to keep focus while studying. Warm temperature can increase a student’s ability to think especially during hands-on activities because can be kept awake and he may be able to focus more on his tasks. This related literature showed that warm environment is better than cool environment in influencing a student’s learning. It was utilized in the introduction of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Renzulli, J.& Reis, S. (2007). Enriching curriculum for all student, 2nd Edition. Far East Square, Singapore: SAGE Asia-Pacific Ltd.
Dunn and Dunn investigated that one factor affecting the performance of the students is the environment, the elements of which, are sound, light, temperature and physical design. The authors provided numerous practical suggestions for designing educational environments that take maximum advantage for individual learning styles. This related literature will be utilized in the theoretical framework of the study.

Schneider, M. (2007). Do school facilities affect academic outcome? Washington, DC: Princeton University Press.
Thermal comfort affects both teaching quality and student achievement. In addition, it also shows that even within commonly acceptable temperature spans, there are specific ranges that increase individual performance. It is also concluded that it is not feasible to provide every student in a common space with the temperature that best suits him. This review of related literature will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the study. Classroom Organization: The physical environment. (2011). Scholastic. Retrieved from http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4134 According to Mike Hopkins, there are teachers who prefer to create different areas within the classroom such as a classroom with a quiet reading corner, an area where students can play music while learning and completing school works, a conversation or discussion area, a large table for cooperative projects, various learning centers or stations, and individual work areas. This style can help students perform academically and behaved properly. This suggests that teachers must be aware of each student’s learning preference to perform well and behave in class properly. It will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of data.

Schunk, D. A. (2006). Learning theories: An educational perspective. Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc. Some students have difficulty concentrating on what they are studying with distractions around them such as movements, loud music, and noise. Distraction can lead to an unsatisfied need which is a desire to be secure about learning. Educators can work with the students in meeting their learning needs by lessening the distractions and make a favorable environment for studying. They should ensure that there be few classroom distractions and teach students to cope with them by concentrating and paying attention to academic activities. This related literature showed that sounds affect the learning of the students. This will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organisation. London: Random House Business.
Some learners who prefer informal arrangements were found to achieve higher marks when they could arrange the seating to suit their preferences or choose where they sat in a room. In some situations tables can be barriers to discussion and group work yet for other situations they provide comfort and stability to the learning environment, offering students some ‘territory’ in which they can work. Learning styles have also been found to influence student preferences for choice and location of their study space. On the other hand, sounds are also a big factor that can affect student’s learning process. Most students prefer total silence or minimal sound because sound acts as a distraction to their effective learning. This related literature will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Sinagatullin, I. (2009). Teaching is more than pedagogical practice: Thirty-three strategies to deal with contemporary students. Plymouth, United Kingdom: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

According to the author, students’ cognitive processes also depend on the environment they choose or create for themselves. Some students prefer warm conditions, others like to study in a cool room. One student is indifferent to the state of cleanliness of the room; another one may require complete neatness and order in the surroundings. Complete silence or a moderately noisy atmosphere, bright or lower light – all these factors can influence a student’s cognitive processes. This related literature showed that environment has a big impact on one’s cognitive processes. It will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the study.

Tenedero, H. (2009, November 26). The learning environment. mb.com.ph. Retrieved from http://www.mb.ph/articles/231234/the-learningenvironment Learning environment refers to the physical characteristics of school surroundings of the students when learning. The environmental preferential elements are sound, light, temperature, and design. The element of sound is a curious thing. Most students are contented with only one sound inside the classroom. This sound refers to the teacher’s voice - explaining the lesson, giving out instructions or assignments, or scolding a student or the entire class. But there are researches that showed that many students prefer to listen to a lecture or study on their own with some background music on because it makes them more receptive to learning. This related literature was utilized in the introduction part of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Wallace, J. (2008). Learning environment. Philippines: Manila Publishing House. According to the author, Filipino students prefer quiet rather than having music or other sounds when studying. They need bright light to concentrate or they may become drowsy and can't think well. Filipino students prefer cool temperatures and believe they do not perform as well when they are warm. They enjoy sitting in wooden, steel, or plastic chairs and can work in them for long periods of time. This related literature was utilized in the introduction part of the study.

Ward, M. (2009). Fire service instructor: principles and practice. Ontario, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Learning environment includes those environmental factors such as temperature and lighting that influence the learning process of students. The classroom must provide a safe and comfortable area free from distraction. The lighting affects the learning of students. Room temperature can also create problems for the learning environment.This related literature showed that physical environment may have a big impact on students’ learning process. It will be utilized to support the analysis and interpretation of the study. Young, D. (n.d). Classroom environment: the basics. Learn NC. Retrieved from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/734

Classroom physical features should always be considered in learning. A classroom should have a good seating arrangement for the students and a good physical climate. These aspects should be considered individually in accordance to the needs of students and with instructional goals in mind. Student achievement is greatly affected by classroom lighting and temperature. Students should be comfortable in their learning environment for them to concentrate well. Warm classroom can lead students to be sleepy, inattentive and bored. So, it is necessary to keep the room cool. Some students prefer bright light while some want dim light. There should be windows that serve as additional light and even blinds that work properly. These things should work out through cooperation among students, teachers and even school custodians. This review of related literature explained the significance of physical environment such as the temperature, noise, light and design to students. It will be utilized in the analysis and interpretation of the study. It will also help in formulating questions for the instrument.

Knox, D., Mooney, L., & Schacht, C. (2010). Understanding social problems. 7th edition. Belmont, Canada: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Four variables are identified as the most significant factor that affects academic performance of the students. These are the lighting, design, temperature and acoustic levels. (AFT, 2009). There are considerable body of evidence that documents the relationship between school environment and academic performance as stated by Linda Mooney and David Knox. In a survey of school principals, nearly half indicated that harmful environmental factors negatively impact the quality of instruction (Chaney &Lewis, 2007). Tanner (2008) found out a significant relationship between school environment (space, movements, patterns, light, etc.) and academic achievement of students. Air quality, noise, overcrowding, inadequate space and lighting all affect a child’s ability to learn, a teachers ability to teach, a staff member’s ability to be effective. The above information explained the importance of good learning environment on academic achievement of the students. It will be utilized in analysis and interpretation of the study.

Academic Performance

Desrosiers, N. (2011). Factors affecting the performance of children in the Classroom. Ehow. Retrieved from
http://www.ehow.com/info_7950422_factors-affecting-performance- children- classroom.html
In this article, it was mentioned that there are some cases where children have trouble concentrating and performing in school since more of their attention is focused on things going on in their homes. Problems at home such as family crisis, financial problems, and malnutrition have been known to negatively affect a child's ability to learn and perform well academically in the school. Children who are having difficulty dealing with problems at home cannot concentrate well in studying. That is why they should have an opportunity to discuss their feelings to people that they can trust because it can help them have enough peace of mind so that they can focus more on schoolwork. This related literature will be utilized to support the analysis and interpretation of the data.

Schreine, E. (2010) .Factors That Affect Academic Performance of Nursing Students. Ehow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/list_6607610_factors- academic-performance-nursing-students.html

Study skills and time management are some factors that affect the nursing student’s performance. Nursing students often have to balance a challenging course schedule while training to become a nurse because if not, they will be having a hard time prioritizing their tasks. Individuals who lack the ability to manage their time will likely find it challenging to balance their hectic schedule. Well-developed study skills make the learning and retention of the information easier. It is advantageous while they train if student nurses already possess study skills before entering their schooling. Those who lack these requisite skills may need to devote time in developing their study skills to ensure their nursing school success. This related literature will be utilized to support the analysis and interpretation of the data.

Umar, S.S. (2010). The Effect of Social Factors on Students. Faqz org. Retrieved from http://www.faqs.org/periodicals/201003/2025367111.html#ixzz1Fag4tA5m College is one of the most stressful events in students’ life, yet it is one of the most memorable experiences in one's life. It represents a critical developmental period for both late adolescents and young adults. Social factors such as romantic relationships, organizations and clubs, and sports activities have been found to have effects on students' academic performance. These social factors affect academic performance in terms of time demanded and the psychological state they may cause. A student may be influenced to be involved in any of the stated variables. The question is how one strikes a balance between the stressful academic attainment and social activities. This related literature will be utilized to support the analysis and interpretation of the data.

Woble, L.(n.d). Impact of stress factors on college students academic performance. Psych. Retrieved from http://www.psych.uncc.edu/Womble.pdf College students have many challenges to overcome to be able to achieve their optimal academic performance. It takes a lot more than just studying to achieve a successful college career. Different stressors such as time management, financial problems, sleep deprivation, and social activities can all pose their own threat to a student’s academic performance. This related literature will be utilized to support the analysis and interpretation of the data.

Synthesis
The studies made by Jones (2011), Knox, Mooney, & Schach (2010), Graetz (2009), Hunt, Touzel, & Wiseman (2009), Reis (2009), Sinagatullin (2009), Ward (2009), Glover, Knox, & Charney (2008), Ittelson (2007), Moore (2007), Renzulli (2007), Clawsons & Haskins (2006), and other researchers have explained that the learning environment can influence students’ academic performance depending on their light, sound, temperature, and design preferences. In terms of the element of sound, Tenedero (2009), Bastable (2008), Earthman (2006), Legge & Harari (2006) mentioned that students have different ideas with regards to studying with sounds such as noise, background music, and the teacher’s voice. However, Gelfand, & Freed (2010), Wallace (2008), Senge (2006), and Schunk (2006) suggest that students find it hard to study or focus when there are other sounds inside the room like noise, music and other distractions. On the other hand, Prashnig (2006) stated that students who listen to background music tend to concentrate better. With regards to the element of design Senge (2006), and Wallace (2008) mentioned that some students concentrate better in a formal manner such as the traditional classroom set up. On the other hand, Bastable (2008) stated that some students are able to focus better in an informal set up. With the element of light, literatures from Kochhar-Bryant, & Heishman (2010), Lucas (2010), and Jensen (2006) mentioned that one will attain better learning with a brightly lit environment. It was also mentioned that when there are strong lights, students’ brains become hyperactive. However, this is in conflict with what Nidoy (2008) and Prashnig (2006) said that having dimmed lights while studying relaxes the students, keeps them calm and helps them concentrate better. As to the element of temperature, studies made by Wallace (2008), Schneider (2007), Crosser (2006), London (2006), and Mallick (2003) said that the brain functions better with low temperatures and poor ventilation can lead to headache and difficulty in concentration. But then according to Queen (2007), some people prefer to study in warm temperatures more importantly when it concerns hands-on-activities because they remain focused in the learning activity.

The study is unique because the sample that will be used has not been utilized from previous studies. It focuses on specific elements of the variable which is sound, light, temperature, and design. This is unlike other previous studies which approach learning environment in a general manner.

Theoretical Framework
The study will utilize the framework based on Dunn and Dunn’s Learning Style Model. The said learning style model is composed of five factors including emotional, sociological, physiological, psychological, and environmental. However, the current study focuses mainly on the environmental factors which include four elements – sound, light, temperature, and design. The first element is the sound which refers to student’s preference for background sound while learning. The next one is the light element which refers to the level of brightness or dimness of light preferred by students when studying. Another is the temperature element which is regarding the degree of hotness or coldness of elements. The last one is the design element which refers to the chosen position of individuals when studying. In the paradigm, the four elements were also placed in the main box which is the preferred learning environment. The students, which is the main subject of the study is connected to the first variable which is the preferred learning environment. Since the students are considered as the learners, they are the one choosing the learning environment in which they are comfortable with. The preferred learning environment is connected to the second variable which is the academic performance because it is manipulated by the first variable. When a preferred learning environment is achieved or not, it could have relevance in the academic performance of the students.

Theoretical Paradigm

Figure 1. Relationship of Preference for a Learning Environment and Academic Performance of Students in a Selected College of Nursing

CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY
This chapter describes the research design, setting of the study, sampling design, instruments which will be utilized, how the data will be gathered, and the data analysis plan.

Research Design
This study will utilize a descriptive, correlational type of research that attempts to describe the relationship between the preference for a learning environment and academic performance of students in a selected college of nursing during the first semester of Academic Year 2011-2012. Descriptive correlational design involves the analysis of two variables to describe the strength and direction of the relationship between them without necessarily establishing a causal connection (Houser, 2007).

Setting of the Study
The study will be conducted in a selected college of nursing, located in Makati City. The college caters only to Bachelor of Science in nursing students who are trained to become world class health care professionals. The mission of the institution is to become a center of excellence and global trendsetter in nursing education through innovative teaching-learning experience, highly qualified faculty and staff, integrated information system, resources and new infrastructure with up-to-date technology, well-developed research program, continuous improvement of administrative capabilities, dynamic student services, active linkages locally and internationally, active alumni and parents involvement, financial viability, and active participation in community development.

Sampling Design
The researchers will utilize simple random probability sampling in selecting participants for the study who are representative of the given population which includes second, third, and fourth year students in the selected college of nursing during Academic Year 2011-2012. Random selection of the required number of participants will be done by using a fish bowl method wherein the assigned code of each participant will be placed in a small container and will be drawn one at a time. This method will be used to ensure that all the students have an equal chance of being selected (Gravetter & Forzano, 2008). The researchers will use the Slovin’s formula to derive the sample number from the total population in each year level. The formula was as follows: n = N

1 + Ne2

Where,
n=sample sizen is the size of the population and e is the margin of error. The estimated population of second, third and fourth year students are 155, 173, and 166 respectively. The number of irregular students in each year level will still be deducted. The margin of error that will be used is 5 % because the total population is less than 500. The researchers will come up with a sample size of 112, 121, and 117 respondents for the second, third, and fourth year level respectively which totals to 350 participants.

Instrumentation
In order to determine the relationship between preference for a learning environment and academic performance of students in a selected college of nursing, the researchers will utilize a researcher-made questionnaire developed from the review of related literatures. The questionnaire will be written in English. It will be divided into three parts. The first part is a cover letter, which gives necessary information about the study: the title, its purpose, the expected contribution of the respondents, and confidentiality and anonymity assurance. The second part of the questionnaire requests the demographic profile of the respondents comprising the following information: name (required), gender and year level. A space will also be provided on the upper right corner of the demographic profile so that the grade point average of the participants would be written easily. Lastly, the third part is composed of the Preferred Learning Environment Questionnaire which includes 20 items. The items number 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 will include questions regarding the sound element. Items number 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 will be about the light element. Numbers 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19 will be about the temperature element. Items number 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 will cover the last element which is design. The questionnaire will be answered by checking whether the statements is being applied by the students regarding the preference for learning environment.

The instrument will undergo content validation under three experts such as a guidance counselor, a psychologist, and an authority in the English language. Upon validation, it will undergo a reliability testing of five students, wherein two are from the second year, another are from the third year, and one from the fourth year. The five students during the reliability testing will not be included in the actual data gathering. The tool will then be tested for reliability using the Pearson R formula.

Data-Gathering Procedure
In conducting the study, the researchers will send a letter of approval to the dean of the said college of nursing located in Makati City. Upon approval, the researchers will ask permission from the Registrar’s Office to secure the list of students from second, third and fourth year. Then the researchers will implement the sampling method for the study. The names of the randomly chosen participants will be sent to the Registrar along with the letter of request for their report of grades for the second semester of the Academic Year 2010-2011. The research adviser will secure the grades from the Registrar, and will be the one to write the grades of the students without revealing their names to the researchers, in order to abide with the rules of the selected college of nursing regarding confidentiality of information. The researchers will check the availability of the schedule of the respondents of each year level. When the respondents are available, the researcher will collect the data after the purpose for conducting the study and the instructions will be briefly explained to them. Then, they will be assured that confidentiality will be taken into consideration. After which, instructions will be given after the distribution of the questionnaires. The tool will then be collated and upon collecting, the researchers will check the completeness of the needed information. If there are any absentees, the researchers will come back as soon as the participant becomes available for the data collection. The data will then be tabulated, analyzed, and interpreted using a computerized spreadsheet program.

Data Analysis Plan
The researchers will utilize the following statistical computations to answer the given research problems. To answer the first minor problem as to the preference for a learning environment of the students, the researchers will tally the number of participants who answered either yes or no in the items given. After getting the frequency, the researchers will get the percentage of each by using this formula: F

X 100
T

Where,
F = frequency
T = Total frequency

To answer the second minor problem as to academic performance of the students, Arithmetic mean will be used. The formula is as follows: X = ∑f
n

Where,

x = arithmetic mean
∑ = the “ summation of”
f = frequency
n = sample population of respondents

Results will be interpreted using the school’s grading system. Grading ScaleQualitative Interpretation
1.00 – 1.24Excellent
1.25 – 1.74Very Good
1.75 – 2.00
Good
2.01 – 2.50
Very Satisfactory
2.51 – 2.74
Satisfactory
2.75 – 2.99
Fair
3.00Passing
5.00Failed

To answer the third problem, as to the relationship between the preference for a learning environment and academic performance of students, Pearson r will be utilized. The formula is as follows: r = n∑xy – (∑x)(∑y)

√ ([n∑x2 – (∑x)2][n∑y2) – (∑y)2] Where,
r = correlation of X and Y
N = total population of respondents
∑X = total percentage for preference for a learning environment ∑Y = sum of the weighted mean of the Academic Performance of respondents ∑XY = sum of the product of X and Y
∑X2 = sum of the squared of X score
∑Y2 = sum of the squared of Y score

Results will be interpreted as follows:
Scale Interpretation
-1.0 to -0.7Strong negative association
-0.71 to -0.3Weak negative association
-0.31 to +0.3Little or no correlation
+0.31 to +0.7Weak positive correlation
+0.71 to +1.0Strong positive correlation

To test the hypothesis on whether there is a significant relationship between preference for a learning environment and academic performance of the students, t-test for the significance of a correlational co-efficient (r) will used. The formula is as follows: t = r √ N -2

1 – r2
Where,
t = t-test
N= the total number of respondents
r2= the co-efficient of determination

To interpret the computed value, the decision rule states that if the computed t value is greater than tabular value at 0.05 level of significance, then the null hypothesis will be rejected. If the computed t-test is lesser than the tabular value at 0.05 level of significance, then there will be a failure to reject the null hypothesis.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books

American Association of School Administrators (2006).Learning styles putting research and common sense into practice . Arlington, Virginia: Harper & Row.

Bastable, S. (2008). Nurse as educator: principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice, 3rd edition. Ontario, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publisher.

Charney, J. (2008). New York NYSTCE CST english .Piscataway, New Jersey: Research and Education Association Inc.

Clawson, J. & Haskins, M. (2006). Teaching management: A field guide for professors, consultants, and corporate trainers. England, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Earthman, G. I. (2006). School facility conditions and student academic achievement. Los Angeles, California:William Watch Series.

Gelfand, L. & Freed, E.(2010).Sustainable school Architecture: Design for elementary and secondary schools.Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Glass, D. (2006). Environmental influences. New York: Thomson Delmar Learning, Inc.

Graetz, K. (2009). Learning Spaces. New York: Scholastic Press.

Hunt, G., Touzel, T. & Wiseman D. (2009). Effective teaching: Preparation and implementation. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.

Ittelson, W. (2007). Environmental psychology. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press, Inc.

Jensen, E. (2006). Brain – based learning. San Diego, USA: The Brain Store.

Kochhar-Bryant, C. & Heishman, A. (2010). Effective collaboration for educating the whole child. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.
Legge, K. & Harari, P. (2006). Psychology and education. Great Britain: The bath Press Ltd, Bath.

London, W. (2006). Learning environments for information literarcy. London: Brain Mind Bulletin Collections.

Lucas, R. (2010). Energize your training: creative technique to engage learners. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.
Mallick, M.K.(2003).Talented children identification and education. New Delhi, India: Discovery Publishing House.

Miller, S. P. (2009). Validated practice for teaching students with diverse needs and abilities. Boston, Massachusetts: Merrill.

Moore, C. (2007). Learning styles- classroom adaptation. New York: Scholastic Press.

Nidoy, R.A. Ph.D. (2008). Geared to achieve: A study manual. Washington, DC: Princeton University Press.

Prashnig, B. (2006). The power of diversity: New ways of learning and teaching through learning styles. United Kingdom: Network educational Press Ltd.

Queen, A. (2007). The block scheduling handbook. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press, Inc.

Renzulli, J. & Reis, S. (2007). Enriching curriculum for all students.2nd Edition. Far East Square, Singapore: SAGE Asia-Pacific Ltd.

Schneider, M. (2007). Do school facilities affect academic outcome. Washington, DC: Princeton University Press.

Schunk, D. A. (2006). Learning theories an educational perspective. Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.

Senge, P. (2006). The Fifth Discipline: the Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation. London: Random House Business.

Sinagatullin, I.(2009). Teaching is more than pedagogical practice: Thirty- three strategies to deal with contemporary students. Plymouth, United Kingdom: Rowman.

Wallace, J. (2008). Learning environment. Canada: Harper-Collins Publishers.

Ward, M. (2009). Fire service instructor: principles and practice. Ontario, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publisher

Internet
(2009). Raise your academic performance. Hypnosisdown. Retrieved from http://www.hypnosisdown.com/downloads/personal_development/academic.html

Desrosiers, N. (2011). Factors affecting the performance of children in the classroom. Ehow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_7950422_factors-affecting- performance- children- classroom.html

Jones, B. (2011). The effects of classroom arrangement on learning. Ehow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_7818915_effects-classroom-arrangement- learning.html

Schreine, E. (2010) .Factors That Affect Academic Performance of Nursing Students. Ehow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/list_6607610_factors-academic- performance-nursing-students.html

Scholastic Inc. (2011). Classroom Organization: The physical environment. Scholastic. Retrieved from http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4134

Tenedero, H. (2009, November 26). The learning environment. mb.com.ph. Retrieved from http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/231234/the-learning-environment

Umar, S.S. (2010). The Effect of Social Factors on Students. Faqz org. Retrieved from http://www.faqs.org/periodicals/201003/2025367111.html#ixzz1Fag4tA5m

Woble, L. (n.d). Impact of stress factors on college students academic performance. Psych. Retrieved from http://www.psych.uncc.edu/Womble.pdf

Young, D. (n.d). Classroom environment: the basics. Learnnc. Retrieved from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/734

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