Jure 2009 location:Amsterdam date:24-25 August 2009
Past research has shown the influences of different student characteristics (gender, age, personality, locus of control, …) on learning approaches. Despite of the fact that previous research has shown that these student capacities have an influence on the learning outcomes of students. No research study has investigated the relationship between the cognitive capacities of a student like working memory capacity and attentional resources and his learning approach. In this research study we will explore this relationship. Participants were 129 second year bachelor students in educational sciences. Learning approaches were measured with the R-SPQ-2F (Biggs, Kember & Leung, 2001), working memory capacity with the ‘Aospan’ (Unsworth et al., 2005) and attention with the ‘attention network test’ (Fan et al., 2002). Results show that working memory capacity is significantly negatively correlated with a surface approach. We also found that students with a high working memory capacity differ significantly from students with a low working memory capacity for both deep and surface approach. Students with a high working memory capacity score on average higher for the deep approach and lower for the surface approach than students with a low working memory capacity. Attention correlates positively with a deep approach to learning. No significant interaction effects on students' approaches to learning of working memory and attention were found.