Patterns of learning in a sample of adult returners to higher education

Anderson, Tony and Johnston, Bill and McDonald, Alexandra (2013) Patterns of learning in a sample of adult returners to higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38 (4). pp. 536-552. ISSN 0309-877X

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Abstract

This article presents empirical research exploring adult returner students’ approaches to learning via qualitative analysis of a series of semi-structured interviews. Interviewees’ comments shed light on the relation between approaches to study on the one hand, and study skills, epistemological issues and attitudes to peer interaction on the other. The data suggest that this group of students adopt a reproductive approach to learning, which is coupled with rudimentary study skills and a dualist, right/wrong epistemology. This constellation leads to a certain scepticism regarding the usefulness of peer interaction, even although such student-centred types of teaching are held to promote ‘deep’ learning.