Student-centred teaching methods : can they optimise students approaches to learning in professional higher education?
Faculty of Social Sciences. Instructional and Educational Sciences
Studies in educational evaluation. - Oxford
, p. 14-22
This paper investigates dynamics in approaches to learning within different learning environments. Two quasi-experimental studies were conducted with first-year student teachers (NStudy 1 = 496, NStudy 2 = 1098) studying a child development course. Data collection was carried out using a pre-test/post-test design by means of the Approaches to Learning and Studying Inventory. Study 1 compared a lecture-based learning environment with a student-centred learning environment. Results were opposite to the premise that student-centred instruction deepened student learning. Instead, the latter pushed students towards a surface approach. Study 2 investigated whether mixed learning environments consisting of lectures and case-based learning could enhance students approaches to learning, compared to learning environments in which either lectures or case-based learning were used. Results showed that the deep and strategic approach decreased in the lecture-based, the case-based and the alternated learning environment, in which lectures and case-based learning were used by turns, while they remained the same in the gradually implemented case-based learning environment. With respect to the surface approach, the strongest decrease was found in the latter learning environment. In conclusion, this paper shows the added value of gradually implementing case-based learning. Nevertheless, it remains difficult to enhance the deep approach, monitoring studying, organised studying and effort management.