ERIC Number: ED175741
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Reference Count: N/A
Listening to the Learner: An Exploratory Study of Personal Meaning in College Geography Courses. Research Paper No. 184.
Fink, L. Dee
The study examines the learning and personal experiences of college students in three geography courses. A major objective is to ascertain the personal meaning of the course, as denoted by the way students define the course experience, their learning, and its relation to later experiences. An additional objective is to develop a model for measuring idiosyncratic differences, such as self-image, values, interests, purposes, and experiences. Data were collected from participant-observation of the course, written pre- and posttests, professor interviews, and interviews with present and former students. Student interviews were the only data analyzed. A model was designed to measure psychological, social, and intellectual dimensions of the learning experience prior to, during, and after the course. Variables included subjective characteristics, prior experience, course content, learning gained, and effects on later experience. Conclusions show that the model provided interpretative clues on what the students experienced and its meaning, that there is a wide variation in the perception of each course and its meaning, and that later effects depended on the acquisition of a few basic concepts and problem-solving techniques. The model is recommended for teachers to use in planning and evaluating a course, and communicating with students. Research suggestions include a study of the typologies' general validity and utility, the effects of different teaching activities on personal meaning, and creation of a written questionnaire. Appendices describe the three course materials, the pre- and posttests, and bibliographies. (CK)
Descriptors: Data Analysis, Educational Research, Geography Instruction, Higher Education, Individual Characteristics, Interests, Interviews, Learning, Models, Relevance (Education), Student Attitudes, Student Experience
The University of Chicago, Department of Geography, 5828 S. University Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637 ($6.00)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Chicago Univ., IL. Dept. of Geography.