Mature students in higher education: I. A literature survey on approaches to studying

Richardson, John T. E. (1994). Mature students in higher education: I. A literature survey on approaches to studying. Studies in Higher Education, 19(3) pp. 309–325.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079412331381900

Abstract

Although mature students are often said to be deficient in study skills, most research into approaches to studying in higher education has ignored age as an important explanatory variable. There is nevertheless a consistent suggestion in research using inventories and questionnaires on study processes that mature students exhibit more desirable approaches to academic learning. In particular, mature students seem to be more likely than younger students to adopt a deep approach or a meaning orientation, and conversely they seem to be less likely to adopt a surface approach or a reproducing orientation towards their academic work. Three explanations for this are: that mature students are more motivated by intrinsic goals; that younger students acquire a surface approach to learning in the final years of secondary education; and that the prior life experience of mature students promotes a deep approach towards studying in higher education.

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