Essay help forum
Some assessment procedures invite, even demand, rote learning.
Another academically successful student from the same course illustrates how the form of continuous assessment he experienced discouraged him from using an approach aimed at developing personal meaning in learning. These findings suggest that the experience of learning is made less satisfactory by assessment methods perceived to be inappropriate ones. High achievement in conventional terms may mask this dissatisfaction and also hide the fact that students have not understood the material they have learnt as completely as they might appear to have done. Effects of Teaching and Course Design Inappropriate assessment procedures encourage surface approaches, yet varying the assessment questions may not be enough to evoke fully deep approaches. How then may the context of learning be used to help rather than hinder understanding? It is probably true that assessments which are seen to require deep approaches by the students can discourage the use of reproducing strategies (see Elton and Laurillard, 1979). But a positive influence on deep approaches seems more likely to come from two other aspects of the context of learning: good teaching and greater freedom to choose both content and ways of learning. Although staff development efforts in higher education have typically been directed towards improving teaching techniques (lecturing, giving tutorials, using audio-visual aids), the research evidence (see, for example, Dubin and Taveggia, 1969) suggests little direct effect of teaching on learning. What has been missing is the important indirect effects. The ethos of higher education, especially in Britain, emphasizes individuality and autonomy. Lecturers rarely know, and perhaps feel it is not their concern, what students do in their private study time or even in lectures. Yet teaching does have important effects, in ways which we are only just beginning to recognize. Teachers in higher essay help forum education have considerable responsibility for the 152 THE EXPERIENCE OF LEARNING organization of their own courses. This research makes it clear that lecturers in higher education do have far-reaching influences on learning. These important links have already been suggested in Chapter 4. Students may begin to experience the relevance of the content of the lecture for their own understanding if the lecturer can communicate interest and enthusiasm as well as information. The study carried out at Lancaster enlarges on these findings. These effects can be seen to work in a number of different ways and, as will be made clear later, have several implications for improving teaching. The influence of the teaching context is illustrated here by a series of extracts from the Lancaster interview data. I find that the courses I do most work on are the courses where I get on with the tutors best... That to me is more important than the procedure of the coursework, you know. It usually takes, I think most people like, I certainly like to sit down on my own and go at my own speed. Now the lecturers certainly assume that we know it and they just keep going. Lack of information about performance makes further learning more difficult. There is a vital connecting link here between what teachers in higher education do and how students approach learning, as the second part of the Lancaster study will show.
But that particular approach was a product of my desire to sort of do a bit of creative, original work. I probably would have just, sort of, taken out the main points and strung them together in a typical essay form. THE CONTEXT OF LEARNING On the other hand, essay help forum freedom in learning brings with it greater responsibilities. Lack of structure and clarity in the goals of study may defeat the intentions behind greater choice, at any rate for some students. You have to take responsibility for the work yourself. But the wide variation in styles of learning preferred by students, together with the logical and empirical links between interest, approach and outcome, suggest that variety in the mix of learning tasks and some choice over subject matter is desirable. The Context of Learning in Different Subject Areas Even the casual observer of higher education cannot fail to notice that important differences in the context of learning are associated with different subject areas. It is clear from previous research that contrasting academic departments are inhabited by different kinds of lecturers and students.
By far the most pervasive contrasts are between arts and science subjects, and between professional and non-professional courses. Whether these different demands essay help forum are essentially culturally determined or in some way inherent in the subject-matter of different disciplines is not important here: our concern is with the different perceptions of students in different subject areas. Students interviewed in the Lancaster study (Ramsden, 1981) were aiked to identify possible differences in approaches to learning and learning contexts in different subject areas. Not unexpectedly, the dominant contrast made by these students was between science and arts 156 THE EXPERIENCE OF LEARNING disciplines. Science and arts students agree on what the differences are. Learning tasks in science are typically essay help forum described as hierarchical, logical, heterogeneous, and rule- and procedure-governed.
In these other subjects you can just sort of go on and on: "I think this, I think that".
They have to look ahead to an answer: we have to look in.
The manipulation of concepts and objects within the subject-matter domain, the emphasis on procedure-building, rules, methods, and details are characteristic of operation learning and the science approaches described THE CONTEXT OF LEARNING 157 by the students. The description and interpretation of the relations between topics in a more general way is the defining characteristic of comprehension learning and is related by these students to typical approaches in arts and social science disciplines.