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The work of learning: The stories of a group of undergraduate university students

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ed.D.
Date created
The research presented in this thesis was in the form of a qualitative inquiry into the perceptions by a group of senior undergraduate students of their learning processes and experiences in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at Simon Fraser University (SFU). The research goal was to explore what students understood of their learning and their lives as learners. The research aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the ways in which students approached learning tasks, their awareness of study tactics, their styles of working, and their use of particular practices, tools, and routines. The research invited senior year FHS students to describe and reflect on the ways in which they cultivated and developed their approaches to learning and study and how they regarded the various learning environments they had experienced during their time in the FHS. It also elicited students’ thoughts about self-regulated learning, quality teaching and meaningful assessment, and the degree of confidence or enthusiasm they brought to learning challenges. They were also asked about their orientations toward further learning or about learning outside formal institutional structures. As the research for this thesis progressed through the series of interviews, it became evident that the participating students led very full lives beyond their work at the university, and that their work in learning and their views of the nature of knowledge and the scope of the field of health sciences were all affected by their overall life circumstances and experiences. The research found notable students’ abilities to balance and manage their competing priorities and effectively align their complex “life spaces” with often demanding academic requirements. The study’s findings suggest that improvements to students’ experiences in university learning require that those involved in curriculum and program design, learning supports, and general student services, give serious consideration to the remarkable diversity of students’ lives.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: McClaren, Milton
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