Can Students’ Perceptions of Learning Influence Their Learning Outcomes?

By Despina Varnava-Marouchou.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Both educators and faculty have recognised the importance of students completing their university education with ‘high-quality’ learning outcomes. We are constantly reminded, however, that many graduates have little more than superficial knowledge once they have finished their studies. This paper aims to readdress the lack of empirical data concerning university learning and in particular the dynamics students’ perceptions of learning may have on students’ learning outcomes. Thus, the first aim of this investigation is to analyse the students’ perceptions of learning and the second aim is to examine, through prior research evidence, the effects these perceptions may have on learning approaches and on academic performance (referred in this paper as learning outcomes).
A major drive for exploring perceptions, is the assumption that students’ views on learning have an impact on the way they approach their learning, which in turn may influence the quality of their academic outcomes. Even thought it has been primarily claimed, over the last two decades, that there is a possible relationship between students’ perceptions of learning, their learning outcomes and academic achievements (Purdie, Hattie & Douglas, 1996; Caso 2005), there is still little research to support this. Several studies on students’ perceptions and conceptions of learning (Martin & Ramsden, 1987; Norton & Crowley, 1995) have been cited as providing such evidence. However, these studies focused on improving students’ learning strategies, rather than to provide information about the relationship between perceptions of learning and learning outcomes.
In this paper an attempt is made to explore any possible links between these perspectives that may help to shed light in further understanding student outcomes within the context of higher education.
Drawing on a 2007 study of Cypriot students’ perceptions of learning, this paper discusses the possibility of a relation between these issues and outlines the importance of taking them into consideration when exploring learning outcomes, curriculum design and the professional development of faculty.

Keywords: Students’ Learning Perceptions, Learning Outcomes, Higher Education

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.109-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 818.010KB).

Despina Varnava-Marouchou

Lecturer, School of Business, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Nicosia, Cyprus

I receive my Doctor of Education from Nottingham University and obtained my Masters in Education and Business from Brunel University. I also obtained a Bachelor in General Business and have also a Teaching Certificate from University of London. My PhD thesis has been related to the teaching conceptions of lecturers and how this relates to their students’ conceptions of learning. I have presented many papers at various conference on issues regarding education and have written several papers regarding teaching in higher education. I have also participated in the running of various workshops on qualitative research methods in education. In addition I have written several chapters in books also related to teaching and learning in particular to students’ conceptions and issues regarding creativity.

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