Perception of Workload and its Relation to Perceived Teaching and Learning Environments among Finnish and Chinese University Students

Elina Hernesniemi, Hannu Raty, Kati Kasanen, Xuejiao Cheng, Jianzhong Hong, Matti Kuittinen


Earlier research has shown that an excessive workload has a substantial negative effect on students' well being. The present study examines how Finnish and Chinese university students' perceptions of workload are related to their perceptions of the teaching and learning environments (TLE). This is done in order to determine whether the perceived workload of students could be reduced by improving the quality of their TLE. Also the levels of experienced workload of Finnish and Chinese students are compared in this study. The group of participants consisted of 3035 Finnish students and 2309 Chinese students. Since this work is cross-cultural in nature, the adequacy of the level of structural equivalence of the research instrument was confirmed, and, when appropriate, the effect of different response styles on the results was taken into account. Both standard and robust statistical methods were used for the analyses. The results show that in both the Finnish and the Chinese groups the students' perceptions of their workload and TLE are significantly but rather weakly related. Furthermore, irrespectively of whether the response styles are accounted for or not, the results indicate that Chinese students perceive a heavier workload than do Finnish students. 

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International Journal of Higher Education
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