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ERIC Number: EJ1170455
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Targeting Efficient Studying--First-Semester Psychology Students' Experiences
Öhrstedt, Maria; Scheja, Max
Educational Research, v60 n1 p80-96 2018
Background: How students go about studying, including the learning activities that students engage in both during and between classes, is not easily understood. Previous research indicates that critical student features, such as approaches to learning and decisions of how to organise studying activities, develop in bidirectional interactions between personal and learning environmental factors. However, attempts to influence students' studying activities in certain directions by manipulating the learning environment often prove unsuccessful. A deeper analysis of the student perspective is needed, since students' subjective perceptions of the learning environment to a great extent will influence their individual ways of going about studying and learning. In particular, we need to clarify which aspects steer students towards focusing on certain studying activities in a particular course context. Purpose: This study aimed at elaborating the student perspective of the process of selection of studying activities. It did this by searching for similarities in references to factors perceived as guiding this process among students representing very different combinations of approaches to learning. Sample, design and methods: Students' approaches to learning were evaluated with the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) in two successive psychology introductory courses (N = 261). A random (N = 5) and a purposive (N = 6) student sample was then selected and interviewed. Seven of the students also took part in follow-up interviews six months later. The qualitative analysis aimed at mapping and extracting similarities in students' perceptions of, and dealing with, the selection of studying activities. Results: Despite considerable differences in students' approaches to learning and reported studying activities, all students interviewed referred to a common set of reference points perceived as guiding their ways of studying, i.e. their perception of (1) previous studying experiences, (2) course recommendations, (3) learning outcomes, (4) assessment demands and (5) time and effort spent on studying. Conclusions: We suggest that students' selection of studying activities may be seen as a process of negotiation based on input from certain reference points. In the course context under study, the "targeting" process resulted in a general "homogenisation" of studying activities and permitted students to feel they were "studying efficiently." Although possible generalisation of the results remains to be investigated, it is suggested that understanding students' perceptions of reference points and general understanding of the targeting process could contribute to a better grasp of how student factors, course contexts and students' perceptions of these, interact.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Approaches to Studying Inventory
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A