NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ934540
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 58
ISSN: ISSN-0256-2928
The Perception of Workload and Task Complexity and Its Influence on Students' Approaches to Learning: A Study in Higher Education
Kyndt, Eva; Dochy, Filip; Struyven, Katrien; Cascallar, Eduardo
European Journal of Psychology of Education, v26 n3 p393-415 Sep 2011
Researchers have tried to induce a deeper approach to learning by means of student-centred learning environments. Findings did not always confirm the positive hypotheses. This has given rise to the question as to what the discouraging or encouraging factors are for inducing a deep approach to learning. The aim of this research study is to determine whether perceived workload and task complexity are discouraging or encouraging factors. In addition, these relationships will be investigated under different induced conditions which offer the potential to deepen our understanding of the nature of the investigated relationships. Participants were 128 second year Bachelor level students in educational sciences. After an introduction with the theory, students were given four tasks with various workloads and task complexities after which they filled out questionnaires on learning approaches, perceived workload and perceived task complexity. For every task, correlations and multiple stepwise regressions were calculated. The information from the interviews was used to support and illustrate the results of quantitative analyses. In general, results show no significant relationship between perceived workload and students' approaches to learning. For perceived task complexity, it was found that a perceived lack of information is a discouraging factor for inducing a deep learning approach. A lack of information consistently increases students' surface approaches to learning regardless of the induced workload and task complexity.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A