What do students think "learning" is and how do they do it? A cross- cultural comparison

Year: 1994

Author: Purdie, Nola

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This session outlines current cross-cultural research into the relationship between students' conceptions of learning and their use of self-regulatory learning processes. The importance to academic achievement of self-regulation in learning is widely recognised by both researchers and practitioners in education. In contrast to investigations of student achievement that focus on student ability as the key factor in learning, self-regulation theory focuses attention on why and how students initiate and control their own learning.

Previous research in the area of conceptions of learning has pointed to the existence of a hierarchy of six levels-from learning as acquiring information through to learning as changing as a person. It is proposed that these different conceptions of learning are likely to be related to the ways in which students regulate their learning processes.

The current study examines differences between Australian and Japanese secondary school students' conceptions of learning and their use of self-regulated learning strategies. The study also investigates changes in conceptions and strategy use that occur when Japanese students come to Australia and are exposed to a different education environment. In one sense, a major finding of the study confirms the stereotypical view of Japanese students as "rote memorisers". On the other hand, it is the Australian students who are found to have a narrow, school-based view of learning as opposed to the Japanese students who view learning from a much broader perspective. Learning, as well as being related to what happens at school, is also seen as a lifelong, experiential process leading to personal fulfilment.