Exploring the influence of course elements and emotional connection to content on students’ approaches to learning in an introductory food science and human nutrition course

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Researchers have identified three approaches to learning—surface, strategic, and deep. These approaches are influenced by various contextual and student factors, including teaching methods, assessments, and relevance to future career. The global objective of this study was to explore the influence of course elements and students’ emotional connection to section content on students’ approaches to learning in an introductory Food Science and Human Nutrition course. Students completed two questionnaires for the Nutrition and Health (NH) and Composition and Chemistry (CC) course sections: (a) Entwistle's ASSIST Inventory and (b) a questionnaire developed to assess students’ perceived usefulness of assignments, learning resources, and emotional connection to section content. Students’ approaches to learning did not significantly differ between NH and CC sections, with the majority reporting use of strategic or deep approaches. Generally, positive correlations were obtained for learners who used the deep and strategic approaches and their perceived usefulness of assignments and learning resources. In stark contrast, negative correlations were identified for learners who used the surface approach and their perceived usefulness of learning resources and assignments. Regarding emotional connection to section content, compared to learners who used the deep and strategic approaches, learners who used the surface approach did not enjoy and felt anxious about learning the content in both sections. Furthermore, based on regression analysis, the surface learning approach was a predictor for low exam scores in both sections. Based on these findings, instructors should implement practices in course design, instructional methods, and assessment strategies that help students choose deep and strategic approaches to learning, while minimizing surface approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Food Science Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • approaches to learning
  • ASSIST
  • education
  • students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Education

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