The Effects of College Students' Personal Values on Changes in Learning Approaches

Petra Lietz, Barbara Matthews

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Many studies of changes in learning approaches have used data from different age groups at one point in time only (Gow and Kember, High Educ 19:307-322, 1990; Watkins and Hattie, Br J Educ Psychol 51:384-393, 1981) or have analyzed the effects of just two or three factors using single level analytical techniques (Cano, Br J Educ Psychol 75:203-221, 2005; Duckwall et al., Res High Educ 32(1):1-13, 1991; Jay and Love, NCSSSMST J 7(2):4-8, 2002; Loo, Educ Psychol, 17(1/2), 1997; Watkins and Hattie, Hum Learn 4:127-141, 1985; Zeegers, Br J Educ Psychol 71:115-132, 2001). This study employs multilevel modeling as a more appropriate technique for the analysis of longitudinal data to examine factors influencing changes in the learning approaches of 153 international undergraduate students over a 3-year period. Specifically, using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), the effects of personal values (level-2) on learning approaches and changes in them over time (level-1) are examined. Results show no changes within students in the deep and surface approaches to learning but a significant decline for the achieving approach, particularly for students who previously experienced a more formal teaching authority. Furthermore, students' personal values in terms of security, achievement and hedonism affect the achieving approach while no effects emerge for the personal values of tradition, conformity, universalism, self-direction and stimulation. Finally, these effects can be observed while no significant effects emerge for gender, discipline and ability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)65-87
    Number of pages23
    JournalResearch in Higher Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


    • Approaches to learning
    • Change over time
    • Formal teaching authority
    • Longitudinal research design
    • Multilevel modeling
    • Personal values


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