Do Students Develop Towards More Deep Approaches to Learning During Studies? A Systematic Review on the Development of Students’ Deep and Surface Approaches to Learning in Higher Education


The focus of the present paper is on the contribution of the research in the student approaches to learning tradition. Several studies in this field have started from the assumption that students’ approaches to learning develop towards more deep approaches to learning in higher education. This paper reports on a systematic review of longitudinal research on how students’ approaches to learning develop during higher education. A total of 43 studies were included in the review. The results give an unclear picture of the development of approaches to learning and, thus, do not provide clear empirical evidence for the assumption that students develop towards more deep approaches during higher education. Neither methodological nor conceptual aspects of the studies investigated explained the ambiguity of the research results. Both theoretical and empirical implications for further research are discussed.

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Asikainen, H., Gijbels, D. Do Students Develop Towards More Deep Approaches to Learning During Studies? A Systematic Review on the Development of Students’ Deep and Surface Approaches to Learning in Higher Education. Educ Psychol Rev 29, 205–234 (2017).

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  • Approaches to learning
  • Higher education
  • Development on approaches to learning
  • Systematic review
  • Longitudinal studies