Influence of students’ prior learning experiences, learning conceptions and approaches on their learning outcomes

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
ISBN
0 908557 54 X
Abstract 

Previous studies showed that students’ prior learning experiences, learning conceptions, and learning approaches influence their learning outcomes. To date, however, little is known about the extent of their relationship. This study was, therefore, conducted to clarify the relationships of these variables. Data were gathered from 119 college students. Factor analysis was used to obtain measures for prior learning experiences, learning conceptions, and learning approaches. The variable, learning outcomes, was measured through a test on students’ understanding of environmental problems caused by ecologically unsound agricultural practices. The recursive path analysis showed four paths to learning outcomes. One path shows that the experience of learning as collaboration and knowledge construction leads to a conception of learning as development of perspectives. This conception positively affects learning outcomes. Another path combines the effects of the experiences of learning as knowledge construction, situated in real-life situations, and collaboration, leading students to consider learning as collaboration. This results in the use of inter-relating approaches, which in turn, produces positive effects on learning outcomes. The two other paths originate from experience of learning as absorption of information, indicating that such an experience either results in a conception of learning as intake of information or use of surface learning approaches. Both paths show negative effects on learning outcomes.

Keywords: learning outcomes determinants, understanding, environmental problems

Influence of students’ prior learning experiences, learning conceptions and approaches on their learning outcomes

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Gravoso, R., Pasa, A. & Mori, T.