Approaches to learning by students in the biological sciences : implications for teaching

Watters, Dianne J. & Watters, James J. (2007) Approaches to learning by students in the biological sciences : implications for teaching. International Journal of Science Education, 29(1), pp. 19-43.

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This study is an investigation of the epistemological beliefs and study habits of students undertaking first-year courses in Biological Chemistry and Biochemistry. In particular, we were interested in the relationship between students’ epistemological beliefs about learning and knowledge, approaches to learning, and achievement. The study adopted a mixed-methods approach in which quantitative and qualitative data have provided complementary insights into the beliefs and approaches adopted by these students. Our findings indicate that most students tend to adopt beliefs that knowledge and learning involves the accumulation of information and the capacity to reproduce on demand in examinations. Approaches to learning reflect these beliefs and are dominated by rote learning and preference for assessment by examination. Few students adopt strategies that emphasise the relationship of concepts to those already learnt or to applications relevant to biological science. Implications of this study for reform of university teaching practices as well as secondary practices are discussed.

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34 citations in Scopus
28 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 5859
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The author-version of this article will be available 18 months after publication.
For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see link) or contact the author. Author contact details:
Keywords: Education Research, Biomedical Education, Science Education, Biological science education, Biomedical Education, epistemological beliefs, student misconceptions, approach to learning, university teaching, student learning in biology, biochemical education, rote learning
DOI: 10.1080/09500690600621282
ISSN: 1464-5289
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: First published in International Journal of Science Education 29(1):pp. 19-43.
Deposited On: 19 Dec 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 08:07

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