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Issue 4, 2013
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University chemistry students' learning approaches and willingness to change major

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A questionnaire with 22 Likert type items was developed to collect cross-sectional data from university chemistry students of different study years (N = 118). The aim was to obtain information on their learning approaches as well as their study preferences. Students willing to change from their major subject to medical education represented a considerable portion (N = 49) of the whole subject group, thus the special characteristics of these students were also analyzed. The factor analyses of the dataset revealed six distinct approaches: submissive surface, memorizing surface, technical surface, active deep, processing deep and practical deep. Statistically significant changes in the learning approaches with study years were found for the technical surface and practical deep approaches. The former was most common for introductory level students desiring to change their major subject. The scores in the practical deep approach increased with a greater number of study years. Significant gender differences were observed for the technical surface and processing deep approaches. Male students scored higher on the processing deep scale and female students willing to change their major scored highest on the technical surface scale. Finally, the students were grouped based on a cluster analysis yielding four groups: submissive, diligent, enthusiastic and technical students. Those willing to change their major belonged mostly to the superficially-oriented technical group, while advanced level chemistry majors occupied the deeply-oriented enthusiastic group.

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Publication details

The article was received on 25 Mar 2013, accepted on 14 May 2013 and first published on 20 Jun 2013

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3RP00045A
Citation: Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2013,14, 496-506
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    University chemistry students' learning approaches and willingness to change major

    M. Lastusaari and M. Murtonen, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2013, 14, 496
    DOI: 10.1039/C3RP00045A

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