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Improving the quality of learning through the promotion of deep learning in a knowledge orientated discipline

By BW James, KM Booth and SE Donnelly


Concern has been expressed that formal lecturing and examination methods produce students with a surface approach to learning, rather than the deep approach, which, since it is the basis of lifelong learning, is increasingly becoming an essential transferable skill. With the aim of encouraging Level 1 university students to develop a deeper learning approach changes were made to both the teaching method and the examination paper for a Mechanics module. The cooperative learning approach of Johnson et al (1991) was used to encourage interactive discussion between the students and the lecturer. Student knowledge and deep learning index were assessed pre- and post-module using the Force Concept Inventory and a Contrasted Groups Learning Styles questionnaire. The students also completed the Learning Styles Inventory to gain a picture of the distribution of learning styles. Qualitative information about the reaction of both the lecturer and students to the changes was obtained using a Focus Group Enquiry, Module Evaluative Questionnaires and reflective comments from the lecturer. Although analysis of the quantitative data showed that there was no discernible overall change in either the deep learning index or the FCI score of the students, analysis of the qualitative data showed that experience of the module by both students and lecturer had been greatly improved by the changes

Topics: LB2300, other
Publisher: University of Salford
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