Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master in Education


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Richard Fuller


The increase in Indigenous participation in university courses in recent years has not been matched by an increase in graduation. In the mainstream university population, student success has been linked to approaches to learning, which are linked to conceptions of learning. This study investigates what conceptions of learning Indigenous students identify at the beginning of their university career. Thirty six students completed a 'Reflections on Learning Inventory' developed by Meyer (1995). Nine of these students were interviewed in depth about what they thought learning was and how they would go about it. The interview analysis for each of the nine students was compared with their individual inventory profile. It was anticipated that the use of such complementary methods would increase the validity of the findings, but this was not the case. The participants identified a range of conceptions comparable with those identified by mainstream students, but with a greater emphasis on understanding. However, the descriptions of how learning happens were undeveloped and not likely to result in the kind of learning described. The findings will be useful in making curricula decisions in an Indigenous university preparation course that encourage students to adopt successful strategies for learning. In addition, it will also be useful information for the participants themselves as they become reflective learners.