Richardson, John T. E.
Investigating the relationship between variations in students' perceptions of their academic environment and variations in study behaviour in distance education.
British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(4) pp. 867–893.
Background. Recent research on student learning in higher education has identified clear associations between variations in students' perceptions of their academic environment and variations in their study behaviour.
Aims. This research investigated a general theoretical model linking students' demographic characteristics, perceptions and study behaviour with measures of outcome and in particular compared four accounts of the casual relationship between perceptions and study behaviour.
Samples. Study 1 employed data from 1,123 students taking six courses by distance learning; Study 2 employed data from 2,049 students taking seven courses by distance learning.
Methods. Path analysis was used to assess the causal relationships among the students' age, gender and prior qualifications, their scores on the Course Experience Questionnaire, their scores on a short version of the Approaches to Studying Inventory or the Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory, their overall marks and their ratings of general satisfaction.
Results. Both studies yielded evidence for the causal efficacy of all the paths identified in the general theoretical model.
Conclusions. There exists a bi-directional causal relationship between variations in students' perceptions of their academic environment and variations in their study behaviour.
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