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How students are studying

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We have known little about how and why students allocate their time and effort in UoL distance learning programmes, and about how their allocation of time and effort relates to their interests and their learning. Questions include:How do student study hours and study patterns compare with programme teams’ expectations?  How and why do students engage with different types of content and learning activity? What role does peer interaction play in student learning?We now know a little more.

A recent CODE research project, conducted by CODE Fellows Stephen Brown and David Baume, with the support of CODE Student Fellows Naraesa Francis and Janet Wong, examined student learning behaviours and the time students spend on study.  

Some headline findings:

  1. Overall, students report that they find programme components that focus on learning content are more helpful than more active learning components, and individual learning activities are reported to help learning much more than collaborative learning activities.
  2. Given what is known about the importance for learning of active and collaborative engagement, courses need more effectively to demonstrate to students the value of activity and collaboration.
  3. The four programmes covered by this study are satisfactory, or more than satisfactory, for students who are experienced, sophisticated, learners. 
  4. However there are significant numbers of students who are not such experienced, sophisticated learners. For them, the courses work less well.
  5. For these latter students there is a need to design future courses in ways that engage them more actively and strategically in the process of learning and in a learning community.
  6. The amount of course content should also be reduced.