S3-ALT2-4 - The Learning Office Approach to Modern 21st Century Education: Third Evaluation of a Self-Driven Concept for Student-Centered Engineering Education

2. Research-to-Practice Full Paper
Dominik Dolezal1, 2, 3
1 Department Computer Science, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien, Austria
2 IT Department, TGM - Vienna Institute of Technology, Austria
3 Faculty of Computer Science, University of Vienna, Austria

This Research to Practice Full Paper presents the results of the third evaluation of the learning office approach, an alternative, self-driven branch introduced at the information technology department of an Austrian higher vocational upper secondary school encompassing grades 9 to 13 (K9–13). Learning office students benefit from a flexible class schedule, which allows them to choose time and depth for most school subjects and helps students develop valuable 21st century skills.

The results revealed a highly significantly lower variance of the grade point average in the learning office at grade 12 and a ratio of sample variances of 3.534. Expert interviews held with ten teachers showed that the most mentioned advantages of the learning office approach were an improved self-reliance of the students, enabling individualization, and supporting weaker students. Furthermore, the teachers rated the learning office as the most promising approach of a set of 14 selected methods of learning. A course evaluation conducted with one learning office cohort showed that the structure of the chosen learning office subject was rated significantly better than the structure of the selected traditional subject. Finally, students of the learning office revealed a significantly lower number of absent lab days at grade 12 and a significant correlation between absent lab days and the grade point average was discovered. The findings confirm the learning office as viable approach to 21st century education.