Perceptions and their influences on approaches to learning

Jenna Tudor, Roger Penlington, Liz McDowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


This paper aims to highlight the importance of considering students perceptions and approaches in undergraduate engineering education. Whilst considering techniques to retain engineering students it is suggested that understanding how students perceive their learning contexts at university is vital. It is also essential that we understand how these perceptions influence students’ approaches to their studies. The paper builds on existing research which takes a discipline focus to a discussion of the relationships linking quality of learning with generic research into approaches and perceptions of teaching and learning. This paper discusses an ongoing research project which is making use of a Mixed Methods research methodology to investigate the complex nature of students’ perceptions and approaches. It is presented here that this methodology is valuable for Engineering Education researchers to adopt. The design of this research is an exploratory sequential mixed methods design where the qualitative data is the dominant source of data. The use of this methodology will be evaluated once all data has been collected and analysed. Initial analysis of the data collected during the pilot phase, supported by relevant literature, has been used to identify the areas of the learning context which appear to influence students’ approaches on the engineering modules involved in the study. Some of the emerging themes will be discussed in this paper with consideration for the impact on the teaching of Engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-79
JournalEngineering Education: Journal of the Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventEngineering Education 2010 - Aston University, Birmingham
Duration: 1 Jul 2010 → …


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