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Mellan kaos och kosmos: om eget ansvar och självständighet i lärande
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Between chaos and cosmos : about responsibility and independence in learning (English)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, the aim was to attain a deeper understanding according to the students meaning of learning related to their own responsibility and independence within a framework of an educa¬tional programme.

An empirical study with an ethnographic approach was carried out during one term of a nursing programme that uses the PBL-approach. Based on observations, conversations, inter¬views and documents, three narratives were formulated. One describes the phases students experience in the planned curricula. Periods characterised of chaos, uncertainty and a heavy workload, alternate with periods of ‘cosmos’, optimism, curiosity and satisfaction. The second narrative is about students' learning objectives while realising that they have to make choices and decisions on their own to succeed. A dialectic driving force emerging from frustration and stimulation, chaos and cosmos, results in questions about what to learn and how to act. The third narrative describes how students handle these questions.

The narratives reveal two dimensions. One concerns how the students form attitudes about the relevance of learning objectives and how they go about learning a knowledge base necessary for their future profession. The other dimension takes as its starting point the fact that students try to manage their learning situation taking into consideration the framework of the educa¬tional programme. These dimensions were further analysed using theoretical references. The first dimension was analysed from the perspective of teacher/learner control and a didactic analysis of the meaning of an educational setting. The second dimension was analysed on the basis of phenomenographic learning theory.

As regards responsibility and independence there seems to be a point in abandoning the concept of self-directed learning. Instead of emphasising self, the interaction between people, the individual and the educational framework and the interaction with content, are found to be fundamental. This interaction includes communication, dialogue and active participation in all the parts of a learning situation. Based on the results of this study, I claim that the driving force in student-centred learning is the dialectic relation between frustration and stimulation, chaos and cosmos. This stimulates the students to engage in the teachers' traditional didactic ques¬tions concerning an educational programme: what are we going to study, how and why, and what are the objectives? The students' conduct as regards independence, vis à vis dependence, are related to a dialectic relationship between the prerequisites provided by the educational frame¬work and the students' interpretation and ability to use them. Expressions of responsibility and independence emerge as choices and decisions concerning the didactic questions, initiative, activity, search for opportunities to reflect and co-operate and self-confidence. The opposite, dependence, is characterised by strategies for “survival”. The students plan their learning situa¬tion so that the examinations and assignments can be successfully tackled, and the learning situation takes on features of a surface approach. I believe that further insights into learning in student-centred education can be found in the two dialectic relationships described above.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2000. , 299 p.
Linköping Studies in Education and Psychology, ISSN 1102-7517 ; 73
Keyword [en]
student centred learning, student responsibility, independent learning, self directed learning, problem based learning, motivation, higher education, nursing education
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-9746ISBN: 91-7219-858-3OAI: diva2:24135
Public defence
2000-11-10, Eklundska Salen, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2007-09-12 Created: 2007-09-12 Last updated: 2012-01-24Bibliographically approved

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Silén, Charlotte
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