Date of Award

1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Kevin Franklin

Second Advisor

Dr Amanda Blackmore

Abstract

The Technical and Further Education system Australia-wide is in a state of change. There is a push to become more cost effective and to have courses that closely relate to the demands of the work place. As part of the change, courses at TAFE are increasingly being based on a competency-based system, with students being responsible for their own learning. This entails the use of course materials by students which allow them to work at their own pace. There is a perception by educators that this method of learning may suit some students, but that the majority require a more structured learning environment, with far more input by teachers (Siekierka, 1994). The role of metacognition in the learning process is explored with regard to development of the skills necessary for students to function as independent learners. A questionnaire, developed and used widely with Australian students (Biggs, 1993), has been taken as a measure of metacognitive awareness in student. A computing department at a TAFE college was approached and staff and students volunteered to participate in the study. In all 114 students completed the questionnaire. Scores from the questionnaire, together with academic results, were used to explore the relationship of metacognition to academic outcomes. Four research questions were addressed: I. Does a capacity for metacognition, as measured by a higher Deep Achieving Approach score, result in good academic outcomes for students? 2. Does metacognition increase with age, thus showing that life experience is a factor in the development of metacognition? 3. Does learning and studying in another language (which is thought to promote metacognition) lead to a more Deep Approach? 4. Does having a higher Deep Achieving Approach score (metacognitive awareness) make it more likely that students will continue studying? Analysis of the results found that none of these hypotheses was supported, but a significant relationship was found between increasing age and better academic outcomes. This tallies with the perception by educators that maturity is a factor in academic success. However, the nature of the factor was not measured by the questionnaire. More research is needed to analyse the types or skills that older students use. The possibility then exists of teaching students learning skills to ensure their success, and, also, to allow institutions such as TAFE colleges to plan course delivery to suit different approaches to study by students.

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