A Study of Student Learning through Lectures Based on Information Processing Theory

Su, Walter Yu-Jen (1991) A Study of Student Learning through Lectures Based on Information Processing Theory. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study provides an account of a naturalistic research into students' learning through lectures. It documents aspects of students' rating of courses and lecturers, the researcher's participant observation and students' note-taking behaviours during normal lectures in a naturally occurring classroom. Students' opinion about the course and the lecturers involved was collected by using a specially designed questionnaire. Access to students' learning was obtained by using audio-tapes of lectures and students' lecture notes. Analysis of lecture notes and interview data provided insights into the nature of, and factors influencing students' note-taking. It also called into question the value of some conventional wisdom about lecturing. This project described three phases of an extended research study planned to investigate how the effects of lecturers' styles interacted with students' cognitive processing of the corresponding lecture information and thus their note-taking behaviours. The first phase of this study involved an exploratory examination of both lecturing and note-taking at the same time under natural conditions for the purpose of revealing some promising factors for further investigation. It was uncovered that note-taking from lectures under certain conditions was in fact dependent on the lecturing styles. In the second phase of this study, a more complete framework, based on Information Processing Theory, was advanced to investigate both lecturing behaviours and the note-taking behaviours and performance of particular type of learners with different working memory capacity, learning styles and motivational types under various lecturing conditions. The third phase of this study was mainly concerned with testing hypotheses to check the reliability of research findings from the previous phases of this present study and in addition, note-taking behaviours of students in general was also investigated. Based upon Information Processing Theory, this study tried to integrate the research into lecturing and the research into note-taking into a unified framework. Such an attempt has provided a key to a fuller understanding of how lecturing processes (the cognitively oriented stimulus variables) influence students' learning processes (the cognitively orienting response variables) during the lectures. Such study has both theoretical orientations and practical implications for improving lecture effectiveness and students' learning (and note-taking) through lectures. The findings from this research suggest that the approach adopted in this investigation holds promise for improving our understanding of how lecturing could be presented efficiently to maximise the transmission of information, and eventually for improving the lecturing effectiveness by making it more adaptive to the needs, interests and learning styles of students and for improving learning by developing in students the strategies for effective note-taking from lectures. One considerable justification and contribution of this present study is that the research into students' cognitive processes during lectures has pursued purely descriptive studies in naturally occurring classroom settings. Such study could ensure that hypotheses and questions posed are relevant and sensible to the subsequent correlational and experimental research. Constructs and variables used in this research have ecological validity and the research designs have taken account of naturally occurring phenomena and other aspects of university lectures.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Science education, Curriculum development
Date of Award: 1991
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1991-78282
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 15:34
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 15:34
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/78282

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