Through the Looking Glass: Students’ Learning Experiences

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Ivona Mladenovic, Department of Biological Sciences

Project team: Bratislav Mladenovic, Faculty of Health Sciences, Bronwen Pollock, research assistant

Timeframe: November 2019 to June 2020

Funding: $5,000

Description: This study aims to focus on students’ own actions and responsibilities in achieving learning and improving their learning experiences. In particular, we will investigate similarities and differences between students’ and instructors’ perceptions and expectations of the students’ roles in studying and learning. We will focus on first-year university students, who have the challenging tasks of transitioning to university while developing their learning awareness and agency.

We hope the project’s findings will help us to improve our own everyday teaching practices in the way we prepare students to make meaning and build understanding of the course content. We intend to find ways to improve how we promote and endorse students’ awareness and self-regulated strategies related to their approaches to studying, exam preparation, motivation, and self-efficacy. This project might be of practical value in developing instructors’ deeper understandings of students’ learning experiences and the results will inspire instructors to select and employ broader strategies for developing students’ (meta) cognitive fluency and capacity for self-directed learning.

Questions addressed:

  • To what extent and in what ways are students responsible for their learning process
  • To what extent and in what ways are instructors responsible for students’ learning process?
  • How similar or different are students’ and instructors’ perspectives about the responsibility for the learning process?
  • What recommendations can we make to students and instructors about improving student learning processes in these courses?
  • How can instructors best help these first-year students learn during this time of transition?

Knowledge sharing: We plan to do the following: 1) summarize the results of the study to both the Department of Biological Sciences and Faculty of Health Sciences; 2) present at the SFU Symposium on Teaching and Learning; 3) present at other conferences/symposia; 4) write a paper for submission in any of the relevant journals