Students' conceptions of learning: using the ASSIST instrument

  • HJ Fransman


The focus of the study has been on students' conceptions of learning in three South African Technikons amidst the changing circumstances of teaching and learning from subject-based to outcomes-based education. First-year students face a particular measure of unpreparedness as they graduate from a conventional high school teaching methodology to an OBE methodology in the Technikon. It is for this reason that this study concentrated more on the advanced students as it has been assumed that they had greater interaction with the OBE format of teaching and learning. This article will describe the results obtained in a survey that used the ASSIST instrument. The Approaches to Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) has been developed as a simplification but a strengthening of the Approaches to Study Inventory (ASI) as developed by Tait, Entwistle and McCune (1998). The ASSIST was administered to 377 Technikon students (N=377) at three different Technikons in South Africa. The purpose of the study was to determine to which extent students pursue deep, strategic or surface apathetic learning approaches within a changing teaching and learning environment with the aim of establishing best practice. The findings seem to suggest that methods of assessment, direction given by lecturers and relevance of learning material are key factors in enhancing deep approaches to learning.

(South African Journal of Higher Education: 2003 17 (3): 178-183)

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eISSN: 1011-3487