Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

The Development of Approaches to Learning and Perceptions of the Teaching-Learning Environment during Bachelor Level Studies and Their Relation to Study Success

Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

The Development of Approaches to Learning and Perceptions of the Teaching-Learning Environment during Bachelor Level Studies and Their Relation to Study Success

Article excerpt

Abstract

The aim of the present study is to explore changes both in approaches to learning as well as in students' experiences of the teaching-learning environment and how these changes are related to each other during their Bachelor studies by using a longitudinal data set. The aim is further to explore how students' approaches to learning and their perceptions of the teaching-learning environment relate to study success. Participants comprised of 103 students at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences who participated in the present study from the first to third year of their Bachelor degree studies. We used a modified version of the ETLQ questionnaire and conducted Confirmatory factor analyses on scales representing approaches to learning and the teaching-learning environment at both measurements. We investigated changes at the group level using a paired sample t-test and conducted the final analysis with regression analyses. We then used Structural Equation Modelling to analyse the relationship between approaches to learning, perceptions of the teaching-learning environment, and study success. The results showed an increase in the deep approach to learning and a decrease in students' perceptions of teaching for understanding. Organised studying and interest in studies were related to study success. The results reveal the existence of complex relations between changes in approaches to learning and perceptions of the teaching-learning environment.

Keywords: peer assessment, bioscience, higher education

1. Introduction

Universities face growing challenges in educating students as life-long learners and experts in their own fields. To attain these goals, higher education should promote deep-level learning and understanding as well as versatile expertise in students (Biggs, 1999; Dochy, Segers, & Buehl, 1999). To this end, students are expected to develop their understanding of the subject matter and critical thinking during their university studies. One way of determining whether students succeed in this development is to see how students' approaches to learning develop during their studies, because the deep approach to learning measures how students go about learning in their studying.

The decades since the 1970's have seen several studies of university students' learning (Entwistle, McCune, & Hounsell, 2003; Entwistle & Ramsden, 1983; Marton, Hounsell, & Entwistle, 1984; Marton & Säljö, 1976; Parpala, Lindblom-Ylänne, Komulainen, Litmanen, & Hirsto, 2010). In among the early studies, Marton and Säljö (1976) distinguished two qualitatively different ways in which students processed information: surface and deep. Students who used deep processing sought to understand the meaning of the article for themselves, whereas students who use surface processing in their learning aimed to memorise details about the article in order to answer questions about it afterwards. Since then, studies refer to these qualitatively different ways of studying as the deep and surface approaches to learning, which describe students' intentions and study processes (Marton & Säljö, 1984). Because assessment and awareness of assessment criteria guide student learning, an additional approach was introduced, namely, a strategic approach (Entwistle & Ramsden, 1983) or an achieving approach (Biggs, 1987). This approach refers to how ambitious and organised students are. Currently, research on approaches to learning refers mainly to organised studying or organised effort in studying, which emphasises good time management, self-regulation and effort in studying (Entwistle & McCune, 2004). Studies have suggested that the combination of the deep approach to learning and organised studying are related to better learning outcomes (Entwistle & Ramsden, 1983; Lindblom-Ylänne, 1999).

Students' perceptions of the teaching-learning environment are related to their approaches to learning. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.