Evaluating and measuring how new technologies and ubiquitous connectivity affect university students’ psychosocial well-being
Journal: Psychology Teaching Review
Where universities focus on the benefits of technology-enhanced learning (TEL), they tend to underestimate the impact on learners’ experiences and well-being. The goal of the research reported in this article was to investigate how new technologies and ubiquitous connectivity affect students’ day-to-day life, learning habits and consequent psychosocial well-being. A mixed methods approach was taken to allow qualitative data (stage 1) to inform the development of a quantitative measure (stage 2). Stage 1 involved 88 students and eight staff participating in semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Constructivist grounded theory found that students used ubiquitous connectivity to enhance well-being by satisfying four basic psychological desires and needs: ease, freedom, engagement and security. However, students’ well-being seems negatively affected by their struggles in coping with the ubiquitous availability of resources, in managing: information, communication and expectations regarding support. From stage 1, the factors from the model of students’ psychosocial well-being helped develop a quantitative measure and the development of this Learning Technique Well-being Scale (LTWS) is described in stage 2. The LTWS was completed by 102 students on various courses and levels at one University. Preliminary analysis shows that the scale differentiates between five different learning techniques (tutor contact, lectures, published books, student-student discussion and course handouts) in terms of negative and positive emotional perceptions. Further research will involve thorough testing of the LTWS across different courses, ages and gender.