AbstractThis study explores the role played by Out-Of-School Time (OST) learning-experiences in forming youths’ interests and attitudes towards Sciences and Engineering (S&E) in Saudi Arabia. The study comes as a response to the paucity of research conducted on the practice of learning S&E in OST settings and its impact on Saudi youths in light of local and international reports on the shortage of a skilled Saudi S&E workforce that can fill the occupational gaps needed to keep pace with the current rapid growth in oil and non-oil sectors in the Gulf region. The study aims to understand the impact of three forms of OST-learning interventions (Learning in designed places, such as museums; Organised learning programmes, such as camps; S&E-related media, such as TV documentaries) on how Saudi youths’ aspirations towards S&E were followed, and how these have influenced their S&E educational/career decision.
The research was primarily designed based on factors and components of the Eccles et al.’s Expectancy-Value Theory (EVT), which posits that individuals’ educational and career pathways are composed of choices and achievements that commence in childhood and adolescence and are affected by a broad array of past unique events, biological, psychological, and sociocultural determinants (Eccles et al., 1983). Additionally, in order to situate and understand the participants’ selection to their S&E specialisations within the context of the phenomenon, three theoretical standpoints were adopted to understand the impact of each OST-learning interventional form (Contextual Model of Learning, Positive Youth Development approach, and Social Representation Theory).
Data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews of 15 S&E-specialised senior undergraduates and graduates in their 20s. The inquiry process followed a retrospective approach that invites the participants to look backwards and captures, examines, and analyses the influential OST-learning experiences during the interviewees’ schooling and college years using thematic analysis mechanism.
The inquiry process resulted in identifying a variety of themes and insights about the positive impact of OST-learning interventions on Saudi youths. For example, families’ support and their scientific background and qualifications, appeared frequently to help augmenting the impact done by OST-learning interventions. Also, the salient role of broadcast media in enhancing the interviewees’ passion and aspirations towards S&E was remarkable. Moreover, social media platforms helped significantly in formulating the interviewees’ sense of belonging to S&E fields and communities of practice.The analysis and findings showed how the EVT and other theoretical standpoints elucidated the impact an accumulation of past unique OST-learning events had on the complicated process of making S&E educational/career choices. The explanatory power of these evidence-driven theories and models and the harmony that exists between them pointed to the potential of this research framework to be used by researchers, designers, and practitioners in the OST-learning field. The research also led to multiple recommendations and implications for the research and practice of this phenomenon in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region.
|Date of Award||23 Jan 2020|
|Supervisor||Justin Dillon (Supervisor), David R N Bainton (Supervisor) & Angeline M Barrett (Supervisor)|
- Learning in Out-of-School Time
- Student enrollment behavior
- Expectancy-Value Theory
- Informal education
- Youth programmes
- After-school programmes
- Social media
- video games
- Saudi Youth