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Approaches to learning adopted by students undertaking a Diploma of Higher Education in Nursing programme

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:43 by Paul L. Pleasance
Nursing education has undergone radical change during the last decade. All nursing programmes are now based in Institutions of Higher Education. While many aspects of the implications of these changes have been investigated, little research has been published concerning the approaches to learning adopted by student nurses. The Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) is a tool designed to investigate preferences for different approaches to learning. It was administered to 296 students undertaking the Diploma of Higher Education in Nursing programme of De Montfort University, Leicester.;The responses provided by the students were analysed using the constructs of the original authors (deep, surface and strategic approaches). The data was then subjected to factor analysis. There was found to be a high level of consistency between the original constructs and the factors extracted, and it was thus concluded that the inventory was probably a valid tool for use with the sample population.;The approaches to learning favoured by various subgroups of the population were examined. Thus comparison could be drawn between male and female students, between younger and more mature students, between students with different previous academic qualifications, and between students undertaking different nursing branch programmes.;It was found that deep approaches to learning were most favoured overall, and that there was no change in approach as the students progressed through the course. Older students showed an increased preference for deep approaches when compared to younger students, and male students showed similar preference when compared to female students. It was also found that students undertaking the adult nursing branch programme were more likely than other students to favour surface approaches to learning. Some of the implications for nursing education are discussed.


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University of Leicester

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