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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


How Departments in a University Create Learning Context that have Significant Impact on Quality of Student Learning

Winnie Tang.

Teachers in universities always face the dilemmas of how to improve the quality of student learning. The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of departmental learning context on the approaches to learning of two groups of students of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

"The Study Process Questionnaire" (SPQ) by Biggs (1992) was used to evaluate two student groups' approaches to learning at two different time slots in 2000 and 2001. 28 students and 13 teachers from the two departments were also invited for interviews to understand the reasons for the adoption and the changes (or lack of changes) of the learning approaches in students' undergraduate years.

Quantitative data showed that students' surface approach score dropped significantly in one department and qualitative analysis also revealed that there was significant positive impact in the teaching to students.

The paper will conclude by discussing the implication related to what should practitioners in higher education can do to create an environment that encourages students to adopt or change to an approach that produces the most appropriate and effective learning outcomes.


Winnie Tang  (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China)
Educational Development Officer
Educational Development Centre
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

I have been a secondary school Maths teachers for five years and I am now an Educational Development Officer in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. My area of interest is Student Learning.

  • Approaches to Learning
  • Quality of Student Learning
Person as Subject
  • TANG Winnie

(30 min Conference Paper, English)