Learner Characteristics and Learners’ Inclination towards Particular Learning Environments





Learner characteristics, Learner demographics, Learning activities, Learning enviroments, Learning needs


In addition to a face-to-face classroom learning environment, today’s learners in higher education are likely to have also experienced a blended learning or an online learning environment. These learning environments not only differ in their delivery modes, but also learning activities, class interactions, assessment approaches, etc. Learners tend to have differing perceptions about the effectiveness of different learning environments. This study therefore investigates whether the reasons learners like or dislike a learning environment reveal learner characteristics that may explain why some learners are more inclined towards a particular learning environment. This study also examines whether learner demographics influence learner characteristics and their preference for a particular learning environment. Using an exploratory sequential mixed methods research design, this study first conducted several focus group discussions and then administered an online questionnaire survey to collect input from students at a local university. Analyses derived four learner characteristics (i.e. desire for direct support, digital readiness, learning independence, and online hesitancy) based on the reasons why the students liked or disliked face-to-face classroom learning, blended learning, or online learning environments. A cluster analysis further distinguished the students into three groups (i.e. classroom learners, insecure learners, and online learners) based on the four learner characteristics. Analyses also found that learners’ demographics largely had no effect on learners’ characteristics and their preference for a particular learning environment. The findings suggest that learner characteristics may provide a clue to why certain learners have a preference for a face-to-face classroom learning, a blended learning, or an online learning environment. A better understanding of the relationship between learner characteristics and learners’ inclination towards a particular learning environment can be helpful to educational institutions and academics to design a range of engaging learning activities for learners with different characteristics.

Author Biography

Lee Yen Chaw, UCSI University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dr Lee Yen Chaw is an assistant professor at UCSI Graduate Business School, UCSI University, Malaysia. Her research interests include blended learning practices for university students, mobile applications, and tourism management.



27 Jan 2023