Exploring Students’ Learning Needs: Expectation and Challenges

  •  Dwi Poedjiastutie    
  •  Rhonda Oliver    


Needs analysis is not new in education or academic circles. Many scholars and educators in different parts of the world see this approach as a valuable tool for program development and review as it is a mechanism that can be used to link the students’ present academic learning with their future needs. This is also true with respect to language programs – the focus of the current study. At the target university, which is located in Indonesia, students are taught English following an ESP approach. Despite the program being in existence for 22 years, it is apparent there are problems with it as upon graduation many students have achieved only minimal English proficiency. To explore why this might be occurring the current study was undertaken using a mixed methods approach, specifically, large-scale, quantitative data was obtained using surveys circulated to 1000 students. This was complemented by qualitative data obtained from focus group discussions. The findings from the analysis of these two components are presented in the current paper. The findings show students at the target university have pragmatic reasons for learning English. Those include international collaboration, better life opportunities, business establishment international employment competitive, better international test outcomes, cultural awareness, and understanding English journals and books.

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