Learning approaches and study patterns of distance education students in mathematics [microform] : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of M. Phil. in Mathematics Education at Massey University
Teaching is an activity that assumes an understanding of learning: to teach in a way that encourages changes in conceptions and develops understanding, one must be aware of how students learn. This research examines and analyzes the learning processes used by extramural students studying mathematics. Findings indicate students exhibit learning approaches that can be classified into Surface, Deep and Achieving approaches. Each approach produces qualitatively different outcomes both in performance and in affective outcomes. The role of worked examples was found to be very important in the learning process: the purpose and manner in which the example was studied differed depending on the learning approach employed. Metacognitive behaviour is seen to be an important mediating factor in determining the individual effectiveness of an approach to a specific learning situation. In particular the monitoring of one's understanding is a significant factor in the value of self explanations and construction of understanding by the student. There is also evidence that students' perception of learning mathematics and assessment affects the approach to learning.