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ERIC Number: EJ922666
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-0267-1522
The Interplay between Students' Perceptions of Context and Approaches to Learning
Almeida, Patricia Albergaria; Teixeira-Dias, Jose Joaquim; Martinho, Mariana; Balasooriya, Chinthaka Damith
Research Papers in Education, v26 n2 p149-169 2011
The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the teaching, learning and assessment strategies conceived and implemented in a higher education chemistry course promote the development of higher-order skills as intended. Thus, our main aim is to analyse the approaches to learning in chemistry undergraduates. This research was carried out in a naturalistic setting, within the context of chemistry classes for first-year science and engineering courses at the University of Aveiro, Portugal. At the end of the academic year, the 10 chemistry students with the highest grades and the 10 chemistry students with the lowest grades were selected for interview. Data were also gathered by means of observation of chemistry classes, documentary analysis and the administration of the Portuguese version of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students. The students with the better grades revealed a conception of learning emphasising understanding, while the students with the lowest grades conceived learning as merely memorising and reproducing. The students with the highest grades diverged both in their learning approaches and in their preferences for teaching strategies. The students with the lowest grades adopted a surface or a combination of a surface and a strategic approach, and their preference for teaching matched their approach to learning. This chemistry course was intentionally designed to promote deep learning and understanding. However, students perceived the purposes and the context of this course in different ways. Introducing a constructivist learning environment seems to require detailed and systematic guidance by the teacher. Continuous feedback should also be provided to students to orientate their learning and to try to diminish surface approaches to learning. (Contains 3 figures and 4 tables.)
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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: Portugal