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Targeting efficient studying - first-semester psychology students' experiences
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Number of Authors: 22018 (English)In: Educational research (Windsor. Print), ISSN 0013-1881, E-ISSN 1469-5847, Vol. 60, no 1, p. 80-96Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BackgroundHow 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.PurposeThis 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 methodsStudents' 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.ResultsDespite 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.ConclusionsWe 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 60, no 1, p. 80-96
Keywords [en]
Approaches to learning, studying activities, student perspective, psychology student, target understanding
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153876DOI: 10.1080/00131881.2017.1406314ISI: 000424336000006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-153876DiVA, id: diva2:1188447
Available from: 2018-03-07 Created: 2018-03-07 Last updated: 2018-03-07Bibliographically approved

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Öhrstedt, MariaScheja, Max
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