Revisiting the learning approaches in psychology

von Dominik Grudzien und Karina De Santis

Two studies were conducted to explore the learning approaches depending on the previous experience with studying (1st time student vs. studied before) in two different cohorts of Bachelor of Psychology students at the University of Bremen. The responses from 152 students suggest that they prefer the deep and the strategic learning approaches over surface learning. However, learning approaches depend on experience with studying according to the interviews with six students. The 1st time students report difficulties with relating the material to other modules and tend to learn strategically for assessment and future career. In contrast, the students who have studied before wish to gain more practical skills, learn by reflecting and connecting the new concepts with their previous knowledge, and manage their time effectively by starting to learn already in class. University instructors may need to consider such potential differences in learning approaches by utilising teaching methods that improve the satisfaction with learning in all students regardless of their previous experience with studying.


Learning approaches in the Research Methods module in psychology

von Karina De Santis

Research Methods is a mandatory module in the Bachelor of Psychology program at the University of Bremen. We investigated the learning approaches used by our students. The data from 84 students show that they use the deep and the strategic more frequently than the surface learning approaches. The older students (≥22 years) learn predominantly deeply while the younger students (<22 years) learn predominantly strategically. Strategic learning is positively related to performance. Research-oriented teaching and assessment may promote the deep learning and the learning approaches depend on age. Restructuring of the curriculum in psychology should focus on strategies that encourage deep learning particularly in the younger students.