New instructional procedures have been developed and applied at the University of Helsinki, Department of Psychology since 1986. The aim of these procedures has been to enhance effective study skills. The idea is to stimulate active learning in students by so called activating instruction, which is theoretically based on a combination of Vygotsky’s ideas, applied cognitive science, and process-oriented instruction.
In many courses, students have been able to choose a preferred form of instruction among the new and the traditional methods. A six-year longitudinal study was conducted in order to see, what kinds of choices psychology students (N=114) made and how these choices were connected with their academic progress.
On the basis of student’s evaluations, the new methods differed significantly from traditional methods. Students associated the development of study skills and understanding more often with activating instruction than with traditional courses. The number of activating courses taken was related to success in final exam and thesis writing. Those who participated in activating instruction studied slower during the first three years of their studying, but were more successful in the long term.
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This research was partially supported by Finnish Ministry of Education. This article is based on a paper presented at EARLI Conference, Aix-en-Provence, August, 1993.
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Lonka, K., Ahola, K. Activating instruction: How to foster study and thinking skills in higher education. Eur J Psychol Educ 10, 351–368 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03172926
- Higher education
- Process-oriented instruction