Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Mature students learning statistics: The activity theory perspective

  • 60 Accesses

  • 7 Citations

Abstract

The concept of approach “stresses relationships between intention, process and outcome within a specified context as described by an individual” (Schmeck, 1988, p. 10). This paper explores the approaches to learning of a group of mature students from the theoretical perspective of activity theory in order to gain an insight into some of the ways statistics is learned. In this framework, learning, regarded as goal-directed behaviour, is analysed by exploring the socio-historical factors relating to students’ self regulation of their cognitive activities. The material is derived from questionnaires and interviews with five students, and focuses on the students’ own interpretations of the contexts affecting their approaches.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Davydov, V. V. (1990).Soviet studies in mathematics education. Vol. 2. Types of generalisation in instruction (J. Kilpatrick (Ed.), Trans.). Reston, Virginia: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (Original work published in 1972)

  2. Entwistle, N. J. (1988). Motivational factors in students’ approaches to learning. In R. Schmeck (Ed.),Learning strategies and learning styles (pp. 21–51). New York: Plenum Press.

  3. Entwistle, N. J., & Ramsden, P. (1983).Understanding student learning. London: Croom Helm.

  4. Gordon, S. (1992). Statistics recipes: The cook’s viewpoint.The Australian Mathematics Teacher, 48(1), 36–37.

  5. Gordon, S., & Nicholas, J. (1992). An investigation of students’ attitudes to and beliefs about mathematics and statistics.Australian Senior Mathematics Journal, 6(2), 103–107.

  6. Lave, J., Murtaugh, M., & de la Rocha, O. (1984). The dialectic of Arithmetic in grocery shopping. In B. Rogoff & Lave, J. (Eds.),Everyday cognition: Its development in social context. (pp. 67–94). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  7. Lave, J. (1988).Cognition in practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  8. Leont’ev, A. N. (1978).Activity, consciousness, and personality. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

  9. Leont’ev, A. N. (1981). The problem of activity in psychology. In J. V. Wertsch (Ed.),The concept of activity in Soviet psychology (pp. 37–71). New York: M. E. Sharpe.

  10. Marton, F. (1976). What does it take to learn? Some implications of an alternative view of learning. In N. Entwistle (Ed.),Strategies for research and development in higher education, (pp. 32–43). Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.

  11. Marton, F. (1988). Describing and improving learning. In R. Schmeck (Ed.),Learning strategies and learning styles (pp. 53–82). New York: Plenum Press.

  12. Merriam, S. B. (1988).Case study research in education—a qualitative approach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers.

  13. Nisbet, J. (1980). Educational research: The state of the art. In W. B. Dockrell & D. Hamilton (Eds.),Rethinking educational research (pp. 1–10). London: Hodder and Stoughton Educational.

  14. Rogoff, B., & Gardner, W. (1984). Adult guidance of cognitive development. In B. Rogoff, & J. Lave (Eds.),Everyday cognition: Its development in social context (pp. 95–116). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  15. Saxe, G. B. (1991).Culture and cognitive development. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  16. Schmeck, R. (1988). An introduction to strategies and styles of learning. In Schmeck, R. (Ed.),Learning strategies and learning styles (pp. 3–20). New York: Plenum Press.

  17. Schoenfeld, A. H. (1987). What’s all the fuss about metacognition? In Schoenfeld (Ed.),Cognitive science and mathematics education (pp. 189–215). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  18. Scribner, S. (1984). Studying working intelligence. In B. Rogoff & J. Lave (Eds.),Everyday cognition: Its development in social context (pp. 9–40). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  19. Semenov, N. (1978). An empirical psychological study of thought processes, in creative problem-solving from the perspective of the theory of activity.Soviet psychology, 16(1), 3–46. (Reprinted fromErgonomika, 1976,10, 148–188)

  20. Tanur, J. (1989). Preface. In J. Tanur, F. Mosteller, W. Kruskal, E. Lehmann, R. Link, R. Pieters & G. Risin (Eds.),Statistics—a guide to the unknown (p. ix) (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Addison Wesley.

  21. Volet, S. E., & Lawrence, J. A. (1989). Goals in the adaptive learning of university students. In H. Mandl, E. de Corte, N. Bennett, & H. F. Friedrich (Eds.),Learning and instruction: European research in an international context: Volume 2.1 (pp. 497–516). Oxford: Pergamon.

  22. Volet, S. E., & Chalmers, D. (1992). Investigation of qualitative differences in university students’ learning goals, based on an unfolding model of stage development.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 62(1), 17–34.

  23. Vygotsky, L. S. (1962).Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: The MITPress.

  24. Wertsch, J. V. (1981). The concept of activity in Soviet psychology: An introduction. In J. V. Wertsch (Ed.),The concept of activity in Soviet psychology (pp. 3–35). New York: M. E. Sharpe.

  25. Wertsch, J. V., Minick, N., & Arns, F. J. (1984). The creation of context in joint problem-solving. In B. Rogoff, & J. Lave (Eds.)Everyday cognition: its development in social context (pp. 151–171). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  26. Wertsch, J. V. (1985).Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  27. Wertsch, J. V. (1991).Voices of the mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  28. Zinchenko, V. P., & Gordon, V. M. (1981). Methodological problems in analyzing activity. In J. V. Wertsch (Ed.),The concept of activity in Soviet psychology (pp. 72–133). Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gordon, S. Mature students learning statistics: The activity theory perspective. Math Ed Res J 5, 34–49 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03217253

Download citation

Keywords

  • Activity Theory
  • Learning Style
  • Deep Approach
  • Surface Approach
  • Everyday Cognition