Previous research in the field of Skills education/oral presentation competence in higher education showed a fragmented picture of effective learning environment characteristics that foster oral presentation competence. In order to design both effective as well as efficient learning environments for developing this competence in the context of higher education, a more systematic and comprehensive perspective on instructional approaches for oral presentation competence development is needed that address the instruction, learning and assessment strategy sides of the learning environment. Therefore, this PhD project focuses on the following research question: What characterizes a comprehensive learning environment for developing oral presentation competence in the context of higher education?
In order to identify and classify key characteristics of effective learning environments for oral presentation competence development into a comprehensive theoretical framework, a systematic literature study was carried out aimed at synthesizing previous studies into a comprehensive set of evidence-based and well-argued design principles for fostering oral presentation competence in higher education. After identifying seven design principles for a comprehensive learning environment fostering oral presentation competence, follow-up studies in this thesis focus on feedback as an essential instructional factor. Research questions of these empirical studies were:
- To what extent does the development of students’ oral presentation competence differ depending on commonly used feedback sources in higher education?
- To what extent does the quality of feedback, directly provided after undergraduate students’ presentation performance, differ between commonly used feedback sources (i.e. teacher, peers, peers guided by tutor) in higher education?
- What is the impact of a virtual reality-based task on developing students’ oral presentation competence in higher education?
The constructed comprehensive set of design principles, deduced from previous presentation studies, is intended to conduct theoretical, empirical and practical studies for developing oral presentation competence in higher education. The empirical studies were aimed to further refine the set of principles corresponding to the assessment strategy of learning environments fostering this competence. While reflecting on the conducted empirical studies, suggestions for revising the earlier presented set of principles can be formulated regarding (1) adapting existing principles and/or their supported argumentations and (2) formulating new additional principles supported by conceptual and/or empirical argumentations.
The comprehensive set of principles offers opportunities for an effective as well as an efficient design of the instructional environment for develop oral presentation competence.