The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Study Approaches and Skills in Online Learning Students

Maria de Fátima Goulão, Universidade Aberta (Portugal)


The way a student approaches their studies allow us to know how students are situated in their learning process. The goal of our investigation is to find out the competences as well as how a group of students approach their studies. Our sample comprises 253 online students, 75.9% female and 24.1% male. The average age is 39 years (SD = 8.92) and 70% have been attending this education system for less than a year. We used the ASSIST questionnaire (œ=0.88), as well as two more sub-scales to know your position in learning. The obtained results point to a predominance of the strategic approach, followed by the deep approach and, finally, the superficial approach. It was not found statistically significant differences between subjects of different gender. They see studying as a way of remembering the things they learn, as well as contributing to their personal development or giving new meaning to things. Regarding different preferences for types of learning and ways of teaching, we highlight, for example, the preference, for teachers who tell you exactly what to write, or for those who encourage them to think for themselves. They prefer courses that clearly explain what books they need to read, but not so much those that encourage them to read a lot. In conclusion, we can see that the answers given in the sub-scale related to learning and in the sub-scale of preferences meet what are the characteristics of a strategic approach. Knowing the type of approach is important to help the teacher to adapt not only their strategies but also the way they structure their curricular units, not losing sight of promoting a deeper approach.

Keywords Online learning; adult students, study approach


[1] Balter, O. et al. (2013). Student approaches to learning in relation to online course completion. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 43(3), 1-18
[2] Valadas, S., Gonçalves, F & Faísca, L. ((2010). Approaches to Studying in Higher Education Portuguese Students: A Portuguese Version ofthe Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students, 59(3), 259-275

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