Teaching for improved learning in small classes in higher education

Year: 1994

Author: Dart, Barry

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Twenty-two preservice teacher education students enrolled in a Postgraduate Diploma of Education at Queensland University of Technology completed statements about their beliefs relating to learning as well as a measure of their study processes, before and after a semester course in Educational Psychology. They also indicated their preferred classroom learning environment (before) and their perceived classroom learning environment (after). They were provided with learning experiences designed to help them take more responsibility for their own learning, to develop and/or reinforce "constructive" conceptions of learning, and to improve their knowledge of the structural complexity of learning. These practices included collaborative learning and discussion, peer teaching, learning contracts, and self, peer and collaborative assessment.

Results indicate that there was an improvement in the level of structure of their knowledge of learning; that reality exceeded their preference for autonomy in learning; and that achieving motive and achieving strategy decreased. These outcomes are discussed in terms of the particular learning experiences to which the students were exposed.