Independent learning: disciplinary perspectives and experiences


05/05/16 – HEA research webinar four

This event originated on WEdnesday 2nd December 2015 but I requested the link to be sent so that I could listen to the webinar in my own time. It was a shame that I couldn’t participate directly on the day but the webinar was still inordinately useful as it covered cutting edge research that was about to be published. The session was part of the HEA’s lunchtime web series.

Main findings:

  • understanding – students felt unclear about meaning or purpose and how it differs from school-based study. They underestimated the difference. Thinking that there would be MORE independent learning and that this would be the only difference, i.e. that the quality and depth of the learning would not differ greatly.
  • approach – whether this was surface or deep learning often informed by wanting to get certain marks, sometimes more personal motivations were apparent, such as interest and the IL allowed you to study that which you were most drawn too and this informed how the time was spent.
  • activities – there was evidence of a mixture of levels of activities from very immersive to relatively superficial tasks that needed to be completed.
  • knowing what to do – generally students in the study preferred things to be ‘more like school’ where they were given directed activities to do that have a clear set of instructions and boundaries.
  • challenges – procrastination was a big factor, but so to was workload and encountering personal struggles.
  • staff practices – students often had problems with what was set by staff.
  • students’ effective practice – this was heavily focused on assessment & retaining info for exams etc.
  • ways to improve – including pre-entry preparation, peer support.





This entry was posted in A1 Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study, A4 Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance*, A5 Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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