Scholarly article on topic 'Factors Influencing the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) among TVET instructors in Malaysian TVET Institution'

Factors Influencing the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) among TVET instructors in Malaysian TVET Institution Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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{TVET / TPACK / "professional knowledge" / factors / "technology integration" / "technological knowledge"}

Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Junnaina Husin Chua, Hazri Jamil

Abstract Nowadays, technology application and integration has become a necessity in teaching and learning processes which demanded high technological knowledge. The aim of this study is to assess the level of competency among TVET instructors by evaluating their professional knowledge based on the TPACK model. A mixed method study on 300 TVET instructors in Malaysia was carried out to identify the level of TPACK and the factors influencing their knowledge. Major findings are discussed from demographical, personal, and organizational perspectives to give an overview and better understanding on instructor performance and quality.

Academic research paper on topic "Factors Influencing the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) among TVET instructors in Malaysian TVET Institution"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 69 (2012) 1539 - 1547

International Conference on Education and Educational Psychology (ICEEPSY 2012)

Factors influencing the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) among TVET instructors in Malaysian

TVET Institution

Junnaina, Husin Chua*a, Hazri, Jamilb

a Arumugam Pillai Nibong Tebal Industrial Training Institute, Jalan Bukit Panchor, Nibong Tebal, Seberang Perai, 14300 Pulau Pinang,


b School of Education Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia


Nowadays, technology application and integration has become a necessity in teaching and learning processes which demanded high technological knowledge. The aim of this study is to assess the level of competency among TVET instructors by evaluating their professional knowledge based on the TPACK model. A mixed method study on 300 TVET instructors in Malaysia was carried out to identify the level of TPACK and the factors influencing their knowledge. Major findings are discussed from demo graphical, personal, and organizational perspectives to give an overview and better understanding on instructor performance and quality.

© 2012TheAuthors.PublishedbyElsevierLtd.

Selection andpeer-review under responsibility of Dr. Zafer Bekirogullari of Cognitive - Counselling, Research & Conference Services C-crcs.

Keywords: TVET; TPACK; professional knowledge; factors; technology integration; technological knowledge.

1 Introduction

1.1 Technical and Vocational Training (TVET)

The curriculum of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) is designed based on a job title and plays an important role in producing skilled and semi skilled manpower. Therefore, the effectiveness and the quality of TVET system should be given priority to ensure the production of human capital full fills the requirement of job market and industries. Alexander (2008) found that most improvement agenda related to training effectiveness and its quality did not emphasize on education processes such as teaching and learning. Study done by Md Faruque (2010) found that among the causes of poor TVET system in Bangladesh is its low quality of instructors, limited professional development program to improve content knowledge and pedagogical techniques as well as no control done over the quality of expertise. UNESCO-UNEVOC reported similar problem found in Malaysian TVET system where pedagogical aspects were not given emphasize in training of novice instructors (Ehlers, 2010). In order to improve the quality of instructors, improvement to the professional development program is necessary by evaluating the current performance of TVET instructors.

1877-0428 © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Dr. Zafer Bekirogullari of Cognitive - Counselling, Research & Conference

Services C-crcs.

doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.12.096

Although, many researches had identified various types of competency required by technical instructors, less was done to evaluate the performance of these competencies (Wan Nooraini Wan Kamaruddin & Mohammed Sani Ibrahim, 2010). Koehler, Shin, and Mishra (2012) stated that assessment on instructor performance specifically their professional knowledge has not been fully explored. Hence, this study was performed to fill in the gap by measuring the level and identify the factors influencing the professional knowledge gained among TVET instructors in Malaysia.

1.2 Professional Knowledge

Technological knowledge is an important competency required by every TVET instructors to produce alternative instructional methods. Thus, nowadays, technological knowledge is no longer seen as a tool used to facilitate teaching and learning processes but has becomes a necessity and compulsory knowledge every instructors must have (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, 2008; Sahin, 2011). Unfortunately, King and Wang (2008) reported that instructors were lack of technological knowledge and had lead to an ineffective teaching and learning process besides fail to interconnects the whole learning process. Therefore, it is important to know what are the root causes to low technology integration in teaching and learning process.

Professional knowledge is a specialize knowledge required to perform a specific type of job (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002). Just like any other profession, TVET instructors need a set of specific professional knowledge which includes knowledge of concepts, theories behind each practical application as well as method to expand those knowledge to create a new one (Muttaqin, 2007). Professional knowledge distinguishes the knowledge required by a TVET instructor to an engineer (Ben-Peretz, 2011; Shulman, 1986; Thornberg, 2008) and used as a basis for action taken and referred to when making decision (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002).

Literatures on professional knowledge are broad, diverse and were studied from various perspectives (Ohi, 2007). The nearest model that fits the teaching profession of TVET instructors is the professional knowledge framework proposed by Mishra and Koehler (2006) on the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). TPACK framework emphasizes on technological knowledge and technology integration in the whole process of teaching and learning. It is also an expansion to the Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) model by Shulman (1987). According to Mishra and Koehler (2006), to integrate technology effectively, an instructor must be fluent in all seven dimensions of professional knowledge namely, the Pedagogical Knowledge (PK), Content Knowledge (CK), Technological Knowledge (TK), Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), Technological Content Knowledge (TCK) and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK).

TPACK model was selected as a basis to TVET instructor professional knowledge since TVET curriculum involves a lot of high-tech machines and technical equipments (Guthrie, Harris, Simons, & Karmel, 2009; Muttaqin, 2007) particularly in practical training that requires high technological knowledge. The teaching and learning orientation uses a lot of hands-on application, emphasize on building experience and promotes collaboration. Besides, TPACK model also has been identified as an agent of multi-disciplinary integration in which currently are taken as separate entities by most instructors (Francis, 2010). Covey (2011) mentioned that to solve most difficult problems or to come up with an effective solution, one should be able to synergize all the options or choices available and come up with a hybrid solution known as the third alternative.

Several variations of findings had been reported on the level of professional knowledge gained. Shaharom and Salwah (2010) found that new Physic teachers had moderate Pedagogical Content Knowledge while study by Yeo and Siti Sara (2010) stated that student teachers had high Pedagogical Knowledge. Female teachers were found to have higher Pedagogical Knowledge but lower Technological Knowledge compared to male teachers (Low, 1999; Shaharom & Faridah, 2010). Therefore, a study is needed to assess and capture the performance of TVET instructors so that an improvement to the TVET system quality could be done.

1.3 Influencing Factors

Past studies showed that there are several factors to have influence on ones knowledge. The knowledge gained varied across gender, teaching experience, faculties and specializations but no significant difference detected between age or teaching levels (Koh, Chai, & Tsai, 2010; Shin & Cummings, 2010). Based on Harris and Hofer (2011), knowledge is also influenced by contextual factors, cultural, socio-economical status, and

organizational factors. Pittman, McLaughlin, and Bracey-Sutton (2008) reported that the Critical Success Factor (CSF) in technology integration depends on the comprehensiveness of the professional development program which includes training on how to use and prepare the reference materials, relevance to the training curriculum as well as the availability of support system to develop skilled instructors that are able to use the technology. According to Bhuasiri, Xaymoungkhoun, Zo, Rho, and Ciganek (2012), the pre-requisites needed to make sure a successful implementation of e-learning system in developing countries were technological awareness, motivation and attitude change. Therefore, collectively, the factors that have influence on knowledge gained could be categorized into five main theme namely, (i) personal factors, (ii) organizational factors (iii) socio-psychological factors, (iv) technological factors and finally, (v) student factors. It is not a shocking finding that the dominant factors which influence instructor knowledge coincide with the factors listed by studies done on the school effectiveness.

2 Purpose of study

The overarching research aim of this study is therefore to measure the present status of the professional knowledge gained by TVET instructors and the dominant influencing factors as an attempt to improve the professional development program as well as the quality of TVET system in Malaysia. To accomplish this, a mixed method study was undertaken among TVET instructors across multiple specializations. This study offers new information on teacher knowledge since the sample used in this study is different from previous samples in terms of curriculum, specialization, qualification and the teaching and learning orientation. This study also tries to improve the understanding of teacher thinking, offering useful information to the stakeholders in planning and organization of professional development program, improvement to the curriculum of instructor preparation programs as well provides feedback to TVET instructors on their current performance.

3 Methodology

An exploratory mixed method study was carried out in two sections. A survey was administered first to measure the level of professional knowledge gained and to classify the emerging factors that influence instructor knowledge. An interview session was then carried out to obtain in depth understanding regarding the factors that influence the knowledge gained.

3.1 Participants

The participants of this study were 300 instructors (220 male and 80 female) from nine TVET institutions whom were chosen based on random stratified proportional sampling method. The stratification of instructors was made based on their specialization cluster and level of instruction namely certificates, diploma and advanced diploma. Teaching experience includes both long and short term training.

3.2 Instrument

The survey used was adopt from Lux (2010), Schmidt, Baran et al.(2010), Nurhayati (2006) and Siti Atiqah (2008) and then adapted to suit Malaysian TVET system. Section A comprises demographical questions which includes specialization area and teaching experience. Section B laid 29 questions measuring the professional knowledge based on TPACK model (a = 0.93) and section C composed of 59 items on personal and organizational factors (a = 0.86). The responses were valued based on adjusted 4 values likert scale where value of 4 represents strongly agreed while value of 1 represents strongly disagree. Content validity and pilot study were carried out to make sure the data obtained are precise and reliable.

In depth study was conducted using a semi-structures questionnaire on three respondents with teaching experience of more than 20 years from the same specialization area. The interview sessions were recorded, transcribed, and cross checked. The analysis findings were peer reviewed to confirm the themes identified.

4 Results and discussion

4.1 Professional Knowledge

The descriptive analysis showed that the professional knowledge level of TVET instructors were moderate (M=3.16, SP=0.38). The overall distribution and characteristics of TPACK level is as shown in Table 1 while the performance of each dimension is described in Table 2.

Table 1: Descriptive Statistic


Mean 3.16

Median 3.10

Mode 3.00

Standard Deviation 0.38

Minimum 2.14


Total Case 300

Table 2: Descriptive Statistic Based on TPACK Dimensions

Dimension Total item Total response Mean Standard error Standard deviation

CK 4 300 3.40 0.025 0.43

PK 5 300 3.16 0.026 0.45

TK 4 300 3.08 0.028 0.48

PCK 3 300 3.23 0.027 0.46

TCK 5 300 3.15 0.025 0.42

TPK 4 300 3.08 0.027 0.46

TPACK 4 300 3.02 0.027 0.47

Overall 29 300 3.16 0.022 0.38

4.2 Factors Influencing Professional Knowledge 4.2.1 Gender

Even though male instructors (M=3.18, SP=0.40) manifest higher professional knowledge compared to female instructors (M=3.10, SP=0.34) in all TPACK dimension as illustrated in Figure 1, statistical analysis showed that gender was not a significant factor (t (298) =1.60, p=0.11) that differentiates the knowledge gained. The difference between this finding with those reported previously may have been contributed by a large number of Y generation respondents 66% (n=201) aged between 18-35 years old in this study. According to Koh, et al. (2010), the knowledge gap between gender will decreases eventually since the newer generation are more technologically literate. Female instructors may be weak in TK but they acquire better CK and PK that compliment the knowledge gap. Similarly, male instructors were reported to have lower CK and PK but their TK assist and facilitate them to overcome the weaknesses (Low, 1999; Shaharom & Faridah, 2010). A well-balanced mastery of all the seven TPACK dimensions reduces the gap existed between gender. The synergy of all the knowledge dimensions produces a strong professional knowledge as a whole (Covey, 2011).

re 3.30 u

^ 3.10 2.90 2.70 2.50



PK CK TK PCK TPK TCK TPACK Profesional Knowledge Dimension

Figure 1: Professional Knowledge Gained

4.2.2 Teaching Experience

The distribution of knowledge gained against teaching experience is shown in Table 3. The One way ANOVA analysis showed that there was a significant differences in knowledge gained across teaching experience (F(7,300)=2.55, p=0.015). This finding proofs John Dewey's learning concept that shows knowledge is the result of work experience transformation (Kolb, Boyatzis, & Mainemelis, 2000). According to Guthrie, et al.(2009), TVET teaching method should focus on building association between work and life in order to facilitate the linkage between theories and practice. Hence, stimulus activities that include experiential and problem based learning such as exposure to effective project management and real time problem solving skills are needed to promote the production of innovative projects and improve instructor knowledge.

Table 3: The Distribution of Knowledge Gained Against Teaching Experience

Experience N Mean stanuaru Deviation Standard Error

<1 11 2.93 0.27 0.082

1-3 35 3.07 0.38 0.064

4-5 43 3.16 0.35 0.054

6-10 114 3.14 0.39 0.036

11-15 55 3.19 0.39 0.053

16-20 16 3.09 0.30 0.076

21-25 10 3.32 0.50 0.16

>25 16 3.44 0.38 0.095

4.2.3 Specialization

This study suggests that specialization is not a factor that influences the level of TVET instructor knowledge (F(5,300)=0.73, p=0.60) and it differs with the result reported by Shin and Cummings (2010) who state that there are significant differences in performance between faculties and specializations. According to Chan (2010), learners take control of their learning regardless of the differences exist in setting or discipline. This provides important information to exclude specialization factor while planning and designing the professional development program.

Table 4: Knowledge Gained between specialization areas

Specialization Area N Mean Standard Deviation Standard Error

Mechanical/Production 122 3.43 0.44 0.040

Electrical/Electronics 123 3.37 0.42 0.039

Civil & Building 6 3.08 0.34 0.14

Printing 5 3.60 0.42 0.19

Non Metal 8 3.63 0.38 0.13

Information Technology 36 3.37 0.41 0.069

4.2.4 Personal and Organizational Factors

Personal and organizational factors are two main factors said to have influence one's knowledge. This study found that 41.7% of the variation in professional knowledge acquired is influenced by these two factors (r(300)=0.65, F(2,297)=106.32, p=0.000) (Gay, Mills, & Airasian, 2009). Personal factors (r=0.56, ^=0.40, t(297)=7.34, p=0.00) was founds to influence more on instructor knowledge compared to organizational factors (r=0.56, ¿6=0.32, t(297)=5.85, p=0.00). The strength of influence between personal and organizational factors is somewhat balanced and scenario could be related to the psychological factor of a person. Berry (2007) said that individual personality can be divided into two main types namely extrovert and introvert. Introvert instructors rely more on personal factors to induce him to do something while extrovert depends more on external factors such as supervisors, colleagues and the environment to inspire and encourage every action done (Myers & Briggs Foundation, 2003).

Responds from the interviewee collectively agreed that interest and positive attitudes are the most dominant personal factor that stimulates instructor knowledge. These findings conform and support the researchers conducted by Boulton-Lewis, et al. (1996) and Tengku Faekah, Hasniza, & Abdul Malek (2008) that state interest and positive attitude are essential to ensure the teaching and learning processes were carried out effectively. Interest influence the knowledge acquired since according to Mount, Barrick, Scullen, and Rounds (2005), interest is a personality that influence the character's behaviour in making choice and decision. The results showed that an interest in teaching can be formed by fostering sincerity in duty as well as be rewarded. This action is consistent with the recommendation made by Harvey-Beavis (2003) to implement performance-based reward system to motivate the instructors and improve their performance. However, Harvey-Beavis mentioned that the reward should not be given in the form of monetary or material, but more effective if psychological rewards such as having fun in work and self-satisfaction were given.

Besides, findings showed that professional development program either through continuous Off-Job Training or On-Job Training is needed to improve instructor knowledge. The role of professional development program is to give exposure to new technology, retrain and fresh them on a particular subject matter. This finding supports the report by Guthrie, et al. (2009) which states that the development of TVET instructor knowledge depends on experience-based training or on-job training.

The regression model used in this study suggested the existence of other factors besides personal and organizational factors. An in-depth study found that other factors that influenced professional knowledge of TVET instructor are (i) technological factor, (ii) socio-psychological factor, and (iii) student factor. This study also found that in depth knowledge in particular area of specialization should be learned through continuous teaching experience and repeatedly perform the practical training. Nurita Juhdi and Ahmad Zohdi Abd Hamid (2010) reported that those teachers who use technology frequently able to master technological knowledge and have better classroom management. This opinion supports the finding of this which found that the knowledge of instructors varied significantly across teaching experience.

In addition, this study found that the best way to expose TVET instructors to the application of technology and the operation of a particular work specification is to send instructors undergone in plant training by via attachment program in the industries. According to the interview respondents, the actual skill to perform a job can only be obtained in actual field work. This is consistence with the proposal made by Guthrie, et al. (2009) who states TVET instructors need to incorporate the knowledge gained at the institute and in the industry.

The findings showed that instructors who are emotionally distress acquire less knowledge especially those who were instructed to move to other place due to no vacancies. According to Birknerova (2011), the level of knowledge mastery is also influenced by the ability to dominate social intelligence and proven in this study where instructors who are able to control emotions and have an established communication network with colleagues able to acquire better professional knowledge. Cheng, Wang, Moormann, Olaniran, and Chen (2012) mentioned that work place learning is important to make sure the organization continues to learn and share information. Therefore, the formation of a learning organization as suggested by Peter Senge (1990) is seen as vital action in developing knowledge and skills of TVET instructors (Moore, 2010). Organization and instructors must have the same goal, visions and work together to manage knowledge systematically (Johnson, 2011).

Finding of this study showed that TVET instructors acquire professional knowledge by attending professional development program either On-Job Training or Off-Job Training. This findings supports Guthrie, et al. (2009) idea that a good relationship with the industry provides opportunity to instructors to enhance their knowledge and skills such as innovative, organizational culture and ability to work. The analysis also showed that knowledge was obtained from reference materials such as books, equipment manuals and internet. Textbooks provide theoretical knowledge and concept understanding while manuals were referred for equipment specification as well as operation procedures and conditions. While the internet gives freedom of unlimited and quick access to information. According to Hanewald and Ng (2011), knowledge is formed after the instructor managed to find, organize and process the raw information obtained transforms it into meaningful information.

5 Conclusion

Professional knowledge of TVET instructors in Malaysia were at satisfactory level even though industries reported that the performance of TVET student did not meet the industrial requirement. Knowledge gained is not influenced by gender and specialization but influenced by personal, organizational, technological, socio-psychological and student factors. There is no significant treat for TVET instructors to acquire good content knowledge but less technological based knowledge since what matter most is the overall performance between all dimensions of knowledge. Experience helps instructor develop knowledge need to deliver better teaching and learning. Therefore, more emphasis should be given on enhancing the practical skills via experiential and problem based learning activities. The experience gained by instructors should be an asset to the institution and used to strengthen organizational capacity. This study contributed an understanding of current performance as well as identification of the factors influencing professional knowledge.

6. Acknowledgement

This research is funded by ERGS Research Grant, Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia.

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