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An Investigation on How the Mode of Transport Affect Study, Leisure, Social Activities, and Academic Performance of Undergraduate Students

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An investigation on how the mode of transport affect study, leisure, social activities, and academic performance of undergraduate students

Abstract

This study seeks to investigate how mode of transport influences the activities of undergraduate students, and whether it impacts their academic performance. The activity patterns of 50 KPTM students are analysed. The respondent profile indicates that slightly more than half are females; between 21-24 years old; and currently pursuing their bachleor degree. In terms of lifestyle, large majority are average and above average financially; with 2 to 4 siblings; using private transport; and exercise irregularly. In terms of study-related activities, their academic performances are self-reported as average and above average; fair and good class attendance; only sometimes or never late for class; and considered to be more focused and attentive by their preferences to seat between the front-middle and the middle-back rows. In terms of time spent (hours per week) on the core activities, on average the students reported to study 20.6 h/week; to have leisure time for 24.6 h/week; social activities for 40.4 h/week; and working 3.4 h/week. The major findings of this study reveal that mode of transport does play an important role in student's study, leisure, and social activities. The findings indicate that those students with private transport tend to spend slightly less time on self-study (20.4-20.8 h/week) and miss slightly more classes because the private transport provide convenience to other forms of attractions, leaving less time for study. In terms of gender, female students using public transport and walking/cycling tend to spend more time on self-study (21.2-21.3 h/week) than male students (20.1-20.9 h/week). This suggests that female students tend to be more diligent and put more effort into learning. However, for leisure pleasures, both male (25.9 h/week) and female (25.1 h/week) students with private transport are equally distracted. Interestingly, females (42.9-48.9 h/week) with private transport engaged in social activities more than males (40.4-46.4 h/week). In a nutshell, the key findings show that students with motorcars and motorcycles tend to spend less time on self-study (−17.48%); spending more time on leisure (+11.63%) and social activities (+18.2%). Importantly, the study highlights that students with private transport spend less time on academic activities regardless of their academic performances. This situation is worsen when these students are academically below average. Furthermore, the time spent on leisure and social activities shows a definite pattern of inverse relations with academic performance. In conclusion, this study strongly recommends that undergraduate students should be discouraged to have private transport in order to inculcate commitment to study, put more focus on study-related activities, and spend more hours on self-study. The significant contribution of this study is to give better understanding regarding the effect of mode of transport on student learning behavior and academic performance. Subsequently, relevant recommendations can be made to the relevant stakeholders in ensuring our future generations are nurtured with good values and healthy environment that ensures conducive learning.

Introduction

Availability and access to private transport influence travel decisions. Otherwise, travellers have to rely on public transport, walking or cycling; thereby restricting travel plans drastically.

Yun and O'Kelly (1997), Scott and Kanaroglou (2002), Limanond et al. (2005), Krygsman et al. (2007), Habib and Miller (2008), Pinjari et al. (2009), Roorda et al. (2009), and Senbil et al. (2009) are examples of previous research illustrating that vehicle access is a significant contributing factor to activity scheduling.

Applying a similar situation to the campus environment, access to transport can influence decisions on activity scheduling by undergraduate students, and thus, may facilitate or obstruct the student's educational development and academic performance.

In the positive perspective, those with private transport can easily access any destinations and complete their daily activities in a shorter time with less effort, thus leaving more time for them to review lecture notes, do homework, and study after classes. Furthermore, private transport enables convenience to libraries, common rooms, or other meeting places for tutoring or group studies.

These positive arguments may suggest that having access to private transport would facilitate education. In the negative perspective, with unlimited access to various places, students can also 'misuse' the private transport to indulge excessively at the shopping malls, cinemas, night clubs, etc. Thereby reducing the student study and rest times, which could negatively affect their educational development.

Thus, having access to a private transport could negatively affect study, leisure, and social activities, and consequently their academic performances.

With regards to the academic performance, a number of past studies investigated the factors that can help determine the academic performance of college students in achieving a high grade point average or examination score; as discovered by Bridges (2001), Furnham et al. (2003), Cohn et al. (2004), Plant et al. (2005), and Coyle and Pillow (2008).

Other studies include study schedules, enrolled number of credits, etc. Plant et al. (2005) found that it is not the total study time that impacts the grade point average of students, but rather the amount of 'deliberate' study time as represented by the number of hours spent studying in a quiet environment is a better contributing factor to academic achievement.

Further, student personality (Chamorro-Premuzic and Furnham, 2003; Conard, 2006; and Furnham et al., 2003); learning style (Demirbas and Demirkan, 2007); academic goal (Okun et al., 2006); and gender (Castagnetti and Rosti, 2009; and Demirbas and Demirkan, 2007) were found to affect the academic performance of university students in some ways.

Although there are several studies analyzing various influencing factors on the academic performance of undergraduate students, to the authors' knowledge no previous research efforts have studied the direct impact of mode of transport on the academic performance of undergraduate students.

In investigating the mode of transport, the idea is also to bring about a number of benefits to the community, including a cleaner atmosphere, greater safety, and a less congested road network. It would enable the authorities at the institutions of higher learning to reduce investment on

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