Introducing the Concept of Optimized Functioning in Academic Contexts

By Huy P. Phan and Bing Ngu.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 4, 2015 $US5.00

Progress in education has led to extensive studies, focusing on explanatory and predictive theoretical tenets that feature centrally in the teaching and learning processes. A synthesis of the empirical literature indicates that one major focus entails the importance of quality learning and enriched academic well-being experiences at school. Recently, we introduced a new concept for research development, titled optimized functioning, which is an expansion of the notion of optimization. Quantitative validation of optimized functioning indicates a multifaceted structure, which consists of four major components: personal resolve, pathways and means, effective functioning, and school experience. We advance this avenue of inquiry by exploring the impact of optimized functioning, in its totality. Specifically, in the context of secondary school learning, we focus on the predictor-and-outcome pattern of optimized functioning with reference to the following motivational and psychosocial processes: enactive learning experience, task values, and the two major approaches to learning. Does academic success facilitate and heighten one’s state of optimized functioning? Does optimized functioning lead to an adoption of a deep approach to learning? We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the correlational data collected (N = 229 Year 10 students); MPlus 7.3 yielded some key findings, for example: (i) the positive impact of enactive impact on task values, a deep approach, and academic achievement, (ii) the positive impact of optimized functioning on a surface approach to learning and academic achievement, (iii) the negative impact of a surface approach to learning on academic achievement, and (iv) the positive indirect impact of enactive learning experience on academic achievement, mediated via task values and then optimized functioning.

Keywords: Optimized Functioning, Task Values, Approaches to Learning, Enactive Learning Experience, Academic Achievement

The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp.1-19. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 4, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 597.542KB)).

Assoc. Prof. Huy P. Phan

Associate Professor in Education, School of Education,, Teaching and Learning,, Faculty of the Professions, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

Bing Ngu

Lecturer, School of Education, The University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia