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Title: Learning in First-Year Biology: Approaches of Distance and On-Campus Students
Contributor(s): Quinn, Frances  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2011
DOI: 10.1007/s11165-009-9148-7
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Abstract: This paper aims to extend previous research into learning of tertiary biology, by exploring the learning approaches adopted by two groups of students studying the same first-year biology topic in either on-campus or off-campus "distance" modes. The research involved 302 participants, who responded to a topic-specific version of the Study Process Questionnaire, and in-depth interviews with 16 of these students. Several quantitative analytic techniques, including cluster analysis and Rasch differential item functioning analysis, showed that the younger, on-campus cohort made less use of deep approaches, and more use of surface approaches than the older, off-campus group. At a finer scale, clusters of students within these categories demonstrated different patterns of learning approach. Students' descriptions of their learning approaches at interview provided richer complementary descriptions of the approach they took to their study in the topic, showing how deep and surface approaches were manifested in the study context. These findings are critically analysed in terms of recent literature questioning the applicability of learning approaches theory in mass education, and their implications for teaching and research in undergraduate biology.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Research in Science Education, 41(1), p. 99-121
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: The Netherlands
ISSN: 0157-244X
Field of Research (FOR): 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
130103 Higher Education
130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 930102 Learner and Learning Processes
930299 Teaching and Instruction not elsewhere classified
930201 Pedagogy
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
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