From Fully Online to Face-to-Face Learning: A Qualitative Study of Malaysian Higher Education Students’ Agency in Learning following the Pandemic


Based on the concept of student agency which is an individual’s ability to manage their own learning, this study explores Malaysian higher education (HE) students' responses in their transition back to on-campus learning following long periods of fully-online learning during the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic. Data from students at 13 Malaysian HE institutions were gathered through an online survey's open-ended questions, exploring their perceptions of their on-campus learning. Thematic analysis of the students’ comments revealed four themes: feelings, adaptation, usability, and preferences. Overall, the majority of the students reported positive experiences in the return to on-campus learning. Most focused on the benefits and usability of face-to-face (F2F) learning, including learning outcomes, enjoyment and learning motivation, interaction and communication, learning feedback, the learning environment, styles and support, and lifestyles. Several issues raised concerned their adaptation in the transition, particularly regarding time, COVID-19-related issues, health problems, learning difficulties, social concerns, and cost issues. Recommendations arising from this study will be discussed. These can contribute to efforts to enhance hybrid HE teaching and learning delivery in the face of any future, unexpected disruption and ongoing educational access challenges.

Author Information
Siti Norbaya Azizan, Sunway University, Malaysia
Glenda Crosling, Sunway University, Malaysia
Abdellatif Sellami, Qatar University, Qatar
Graeme Atherton, University of West London, United Kingdom
Pei Boon Ooi, Sunway University, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: PCE2023
Stream: Learning Experiences

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon