Project

Learning environment and approaches to studying among occupational therapy students

Goal: A cross-cultural study of approaches to learning and studying among undergraduate occupational therapy students from Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Norway. A large sample was recruited (n = 712). Publications are in progress.

A new longitudinal study in Norway, following up on the cross-cultural study, aims at investigating how occupational therapy students develop across the three years of study. The study is concerned with their development in terms of approaches to studying, and also their perceptions of the learning environment.

Date: 1 January 2015

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Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Studies into the relationships between learning environment perceptions, approaches to studying, and academic outcomes have largely followed cross-sectional designs. As a result, knowledge is sparse with regards to whether, or to what degree, the established associations are consistent across years of study. This study aimed to (i) examine associations between occupational therapy students' academic performance, their approaches to studying and perceptions of the learning environment, while in their second and third years of study, and (ii) evaluate the consistency of the results across years of study. Occupational therapy students in Norway were assessed annually with regards to their perceptions of the learning environment, study approaches, and academic performance. Associations between variables, measured within each study year, were analyzed with linear regression analyses, and then compared year-over-year. In the second study year (n=162), better academic performance was associated with lower student autonomy, and higher scores on strategic approach. In the third study year (n=189), better academic performance was associated with being female and lower scores on surface approach. Having occupational therapy as the preferred line of education at enrollment was associated with better grades in both study years. Associations between grades and gender, perceptions of student autonomy, and study approaches were somewhat different between the two years. Implications for educational practice is discussed and various contents and emphasis in educational programs are proposed.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Relationships between learning environment variables and students' approaches to studying have been investigated from many points of view over the last decades. However, few studies have explored whether such relationships are stable over time. In the two consecutive cross-sectional analyses performed in this study, Norwegian occupational therapy students' perceptions of their learning environment and their approaches to studying were assessed in the second (162 students) and third (193 students) year of their study program. Aside from sociodemographic information, the students completed the Course Experience Questionnaire and the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students, with the aim of exploring whether associations between learning environment variables and study approaches were stable across time. The data were analyzed with hierarchical linear regression analyses. Relatively stable associations with students' study approaches were found for the learning environment variables of 'generic skills' and 'appropriate workload'. The learning environment variables of 'clear goals and standards' and 'student autonomy' were directly associated with study approaches in both study years, but the nature of the associations shifted during the study period. Thus, knowledge of stability and change in these relationships could assist faculty in promoting a well-functioning learning environment throughout the study program.
Gry Mørk
added a research item
Whether higher education students’ approaches to studying are amenable to change, is disputed. In this study, Norwegian occupational therapy students’ (n = 263) approaches to studying were assessed annually across the three-year course, with the aim of exploring changes during the undergraduate study program. Sociodemographic information and the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students were completed. Changes during the follow-up period were analyzed using linear mixed models for repeated measures. A significant increase in deep approach scores and a decrease in surface approach scores during the study program was revealed. The strategic approach remained unchanged, but with a difference between education institutions. Overall, the study suggests that the students’ approaches to studying changed in a positive direction during the study program. Attention should be given to students at risk of adopting a surface approach to studying and to the individual and contextual elements influencing study behaviors.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
When students enter a bachelor program in occupational therapy, they engage in a variety of learning activities. To explore students' perceptions of learning activities, this qualitative study investigated the experiences of six first year students participating in an occupational therapy study program at a Norwegian university. The students took part in two focus group interviews. The interview analysis focused on meaning and ended up with three main themes: 1) Getting to know each other through collaborative learning activities, 2) Engaging in classroom learning activities, and 3) Approaching the syllabus and doing assignments. The study concludes that early engagement in social and collaborative learning activities can be a meaningful prerequisite to future learning focused on meaning and feeling safe in the learning environment. Teaching styles also influence students' engagement in the occupation of studying, with the change from one teaching style to another being particularly challenging for the students.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Bakgrunn: Mange studier har undersøkt sammenhenger mellom studenters eksamensprestasjoner og deres måter å studere på. Likevel har få studier undersøkt eksamensprestasjoner i sammenheng med både studietilnærminger og oppfatninger av læringsmiljøet. Det er behov for å studere hvordan både individuelle og kontekstuelle faktorer samtidig kan bidra til å forklare ergoterapistudenters eksamensprestasjoner. Formål: Øke forståelsen av sammenhengene mellom ergoterapistudenters eksamensprestasjoner, deres tilnærminger til det å studere, og deres oppfatninger av læringsmiljøet. Metode: Tverrsnittsstudie hvor 174 studenter i første studieår deltok. Data ble samlet om studentenes bakgrunn, deres eksamenskarakterer og med norske versjoner av spørreskjemaene Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students og Course Experience Questionnaire. Statistiske sammenhenger ble undersøkt med multiple lineære regresjonsanalyser. Resultater: Ingen av læringsmiljøfaktorene var assosierte med eksamenskarakterer. Justert for alle inkluderte variabler var bedre eksamensresultater assosiert med det å være kvinne (β = 0.22, p < 0.01), å ha høyere skårer på strategisk tilnærming (β = 0.31, p < 0.001) og lavere skårer på overflatisk tilnærming (β = -0.20, p < 0.01). Konklusjon: Studien indikerer at studenter med et ønske om å få gode eksamenskarakterer bør studere med høy grad av strategisk tilnærming og unngå bruk av overflatisk tilnærming. Et godt læringsmiljø er viktig av flere grunner, men det ser ikke ut til å være av vesentlig betydning for studentenes eksamensprestasjoner.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Introduction / Rationale: Research using study approaches and learning environment factors as concurrent predictors of academic performance is sparse. There is a need to disentangle the potentially interrelated influences of individual and contextual factors on students’ academic performance. Objectives: This study aimed to increase the understanding of the associations between occupational therapy students’ academic performance, and their approaches to studying and perceptions of the learning environment. Method / Approach: A cross-sectional study was designed, and 174 first-year students completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students and the Course Experience Questionnaire, in addition to background information. Data on grades were collected from the data registries of each education institution, and associations were analyzed by multiple linear regression. Results and or Practice Implications: None of the learning environment scales were associated with grades. Adjusting for all variables, better exam results were associated with being female (β = 0.22, p < 0.01) and having higher scores on strategic approach (β = 0.31, p < 0.001) and lower scores on surface approach (β = -0.20, p < 0.01). The study suggests that students with a desire for obtaining good grades ought to use strategic study behaviors and avoid using surface approach behaviors. Conclusion: Using productive approaches to studying are important for obtaining good academic results while in occupational therapy training. While it is important to ensure good quality of the learning environment for a variety of reasons, the learning environment did not contribute significantly to explain the students’ academic performance.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
There has been increasing concern about student mental health, self-efficacy, and their impact on approaches to learning. Little is known about how these three constructs relate and change over time. This is a second study exploring graduate occupational and physical therapy students' approaches to studying, mental health factors, self-efficacy, and changes in relationships between these factors over time. We found that higher self-efficacy was related to higher deep approach ratings , while higher mental health ratings were related to higher strategic approach ratings and lower surface approach ratings. Self-efficacy and mental health show relatively consistent associations over time with student approaches to learning.
Tore Bonsaksen
added 3 research items
Background Relationships between students’ academic performance and their employed study approaches have been studied extensively. However, research using study approaches and learning environment factors as concurrent predictors of academic performance is sparse. There is a need to disentangle the potentially interrelated influences of individual and contextual factors on students’ academic performance. Objective This study aimed to increase the understanding of the associations between occupational therapy students’ academic performance, and their approaches to studying, perceptions of the learning environment, and sociodemographic characteristics. Method A cross-sectional study was designed, and 174 first-year students completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students and the Course Experience Questionnaire, in addition to background information. Data on grades were collected from the data registries of each education institution, and associations were analyzed by multiple linear regression. Results None of the learning environment scales were associated with grades. Adjusting for all variables, better exam results were associated with being female ( β = 0.22, p < 0.01) and having higher scores on strategic approach ( β = 0.31, p < 0.001) and lower scores on surface approach ( β = -0.20, p < 0.01). Conclusion The study suggests that students with a desire for obtaining good grades ought to use strategic study behaviors and avoid using surface approach behaviors. While it is important to ensure good quality of the learning environment for a variety of reasons, the learning environment did not contribute significantly to explain the students’ academic performance.
Purpose: Previous studies on the associations between approaches to studying and outcomes have been conducted largely in Europe, where participants have been largely undergraduate-level students. The purpose of this study is to examine the associations between study approaches and academic outcomes of graduate occupational therapy students in the USA. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, 120 masters- and doctoral-level occupational therapy students in their first and second study year in a large metropolitan city completed the short version of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). A total of 18 items from the full 52-items version comprise the short version of the ASSIST, with 6 items belonging to each of the deep, strategic and surface scales. Associations between the study approach scales and exam grades were analyzed with single and multiple logistic regression analyses. Findings: There was a direct association between the use of strategic studying and higher grade point average. Thus, students who want to perform well academically are encouraged to use study behaviours comprised by the strategic approach to studying. Originality/value: This study appears to be the first to examine associations between study approaches and academic performance among occupational therapy students in the US context. More research on the study approaches of US American students is warranted.
Introduction Although the learning environment influences students’ motivation, learning outcomes, and satisfaction with the study program, less is known about how these factors change as the students’ progress through the study program. Aim The aim of this study was to examine changes in occupational therapy students’ perceptions of the academic learning environment during their three-year study program and to examine factors associated with the students’ perceptions of the learning environment. Materials and methods A longitudinal cohort study was conducted throughout the three-year study program. Data were collected annually using the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ). In total, 263 students from six occupational therapy programs participated in at least one data gathering point. The number of participants was 186 in the first year, 168 in the second year and 200 in the third year. Of the 263 students who participated in the study, 87 participated in only one point of data collection, 58 at two points and 118 at all three points of the data collection. Data were analyzed with linear mixed models. Results The results showed statistically significant temporal changes on the “Emphasis on independence”, “Good teaching” and “Generic skills” scales. There was a significant decrease in scores from the first to the second year of study and the scores remained at this level in the third study year on both the “Emphasis on independence” and “Good teaching” scales. In addition, associations were found between study effort and educational institution related to the “Appropriate workload” scale, as well as between age and the “Generic skills” scale. Conclusion The temporal changes of the students’ perceptions of the “Emphasis on independence” as well as “Good teaching” scales are noteworthy. Both scales indicated a significant decrease in scores, indicating that the students perceived that they were less independent from first to second and third year, as well as a perceived decline in the quality of teaching from first to second and third year. The results of this study are central when planning to facilitate learning, especially related to independence and perceptions of good teaching for students in occupational therapy programs.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Purpose: Understanding students' preferences for teaching and course design is important for educators in higher education when planning courses and teaching activities. The purpose of this study was to explore changes in occupational therapy students' preferences for teaching and courses across the three-year study program. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 263 students participated in a longitudinal study, where preferences were measured with the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students. The data were analyzed with linear mixed effect models for repeated measures. Findings: The results indicated no significant changes in preferences for courses and teaching over the three-year period. Also, there were no significant differences between the six involved study programs. Preferences for the courses and teaching type "supporting understanding" were associated with higher age and higher study effort. Preferences for the courses and teaching type "transmitting information" were associated with lower age and female gender. Originality/value: In summary, the findings of this study suggest that preferences for teaching and courses are stable and may be challenging to alter during a three-year undergraduate study program.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
There is growing concern about student mental health, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. Mental health factors impact self-efficacy and study behaviors, thus there is a need to explore changes in these factors during the pandemic. The aim of this study was to explore changes in allied healthcare students' approaches to studying, self-efficacy and positive mental health before and during the COVID-19 crisis. The Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students, General Self-efficacy scale, Mental Health Continuum-Short Form were given to graduate students (n=26) prior to, and one year into the pandemic. Repeated measures analyses of variance were performed. General self-efficacy scores increased with large effect size, while no significant change pattern was observed for mental health scores. The decrease in strategic study approach scores had a large effect size. The changes in deep and surface study approach scores across time were not statistically significant. While students sustained their mental health and increased their self-efficacy, students may benefit from assistance in organizing daily academic routines and fostering community support during times of crisis.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
While several studies have examined occupational therapy students' study behaviors, no studies to date have examined study behaviors in Norwegian student samples in the context of the learning environment. On this background, a research study: Learning environment and approaches to studying among occupational therapy students, was initiated in 2017. The aim was to examine the students' perceived learning environment and their study approaches and academic results in a comparative and longitudinal perspective. Across the three-year study period, 263 students participated in at least one of the annual surveys. The first papers originating from the study have demonstrated how learning environment factors contribute to explain student satisfaction, how learning environment factors are related to students' study behaviors, and how different study approaches are linked with the students' exam results. Studies in progress will further clarify changes in learning environment factors and study approaches across the three-year study period.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
The aim of this study was to examine the associations between occupational therapy students’ learning conceptions, preferences for teaching, and approaches to studying. The deep learning concept was associated with deep and strategic approaches to learning. The student preference for the teaching-style “transmitting information” was associated with a surface approach to learning. Understanding the interrelationships between students’ learning concepts, teaching preferences, and study approaches may provide incentive for faculty members to think about novel approaches to teaching. While occupational therapy faculty members should encourage a deep learning concept and stimulate students’ linking of ideas, they may need to modify their teaching style to accommodate surface-oriented students’ needs.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Students’ approaches to studying are viewed as essential for their learning outcomes. However, associations between study approaches and academic outcomes among occupational therapy students are rarely studied, as are cross-cultural comparisons. This study assessed associations between the deep, strategic and surface approaches to studying and occupational therapy students’ academic performance, in the total sample and when stratified by country. Seven hundred and twelve students from Australia, Norway, Hong Kong and Singapore completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students. Linear regression analyses were used to investigate associations between study approach scores and grade point average. In the total sample and in the Australia and Singapore sub-samples, none of the scales was associated with grade point average. In Hong Kong, lower deep approach scores and higher strategic approach scores were associated with higher grade point average. In Norway, higher strategic approach scores and lower surface approach scores were associated with higher grade point average. In conclusion, approaches to studying were relevant for understanding academic performance among occupational therapy students in Norway and Hong Kong, but less useful in the Australian and Singapore contexts.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background Longitudinal research is one effective way to gauge changes in a student cohort over time, however attrition in these studies is typically high, which can result in study bias. This study explored learning environment factors, approaches to studying, and academic performance as predictors of occupational therapy students’ consistent participation in data collection conducted over three years of their professional program. Method A longitudinal study of Norwegian occupational therapy students (analyzed n = 240) was conducted. Logistic regression analysis was used to explore occupational therapy students’ perceptions of the learning environment, their approaches to studying, and exam grades as they related to the likelihood of consistent participation at three annual surveys. Results Annual response rates varied between 55.1%, and 65.6%, and consistent participation was observed among 49.2%. The fully adjusted regression models showed that higher strategic approach scores increased the odds of consistent participation (adjusted OR: 1.04, p < 0.01), whereas higher surface approach scores decreased the odds of consistent participation (adjusted OR: 0.95, p < 0.05). Neither sociodemographic factors, learning environment factors nor academic performance predicted participation over time. Conclusions Researchers can anticipate relatively high levels of attrition in longitudinal studies of occupational therapy students, but attrition seems to be largely proportional between groups. However, completers in longitudinal studies may be somewhat more well-organized and academically oriented than drop-outs.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
The data are based on a longitudinal study of occupational therapy students in Norway. Students were invited to respond to a survey in each of the three study years. This study analysed predictors of consistent study participation; that is, responding to the survey in each of the study years. The data allows for replicating the study results.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Purpose: Previous studies on the associations between approaches to studying and outcomes have been conducted largely in Europe, where participants have been largely undergraduate-level students. The purpose of this study is to examine the associations between study approaches and academic outcomes of graduate occupational therapy students in the USA. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, 120 masters-and doctoral-level occupational therapy students in their first and second study year in a large metropolitan city completed the short version of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). A total of 18 items from the full 52-items version comprise the short version of the ASSIST, with 6 items belonging to each of the deep, strategic and surface scales. Associations between the study approach scales and exam grades were analyzed with single and multiple logistic regression analyses. Findings: There was a direct association between the use of strategic studying and higher grade point average. Thus, students who want to perform well academically are encouraged to use study behaviors comprised by the strategic approach to studying. Value: This study appears to be the first to examine associations between study approaches and academic performance among occupational therapy students in the US context. More research on the study approaches of US American students is warranted.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background Occupational and physical therapy academic programs are rigorous. Increased rates of student anxiety and depression may impact learning. Data on student study skills, self-efficacy, and mental health is limited. This study explored relationships between students’ self-efficacy, mental health factors, and approaches to studying. Method A cross-sectional study was designed. Seventy-three students completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students-Short Form, General Self-Efficacy Scale, and Mental Health Continuum-Short Form. Associations between predictors (education program, general self-efficacy and mental health) and ratings on the study approach scales were analyzed with multiple linear regression. Results Multiple regression models revealed associations between higher self-efficacy and higher ratings on the deep (β = 0.49, p < 0.01) and strategic (β = 0.34, p < 0.05) scales, and lower ratings on the surface scale (β = − 0.29, p < 0.01). Compared to OT students, PT students had higher surface approach ratings (β = − 0.36, p < 0.001). Poorer mental health scores were associated with higher surface approach ratings (β = − 0.41, p < 0.001). Conclusions To support productive study strategies among occupational and physical therapy students it may be useful to promote their general self-efficacy and positive mental health.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Relationships between students’ academic performance and their employed study approaches have been studied extensively. However, research using study approaches and learning environment factors as concurrent predictors of academic performance is sparse. There is a need to disentangle the potentially interrelated influences of individual and contextual factors on students’ academic performance. Objective: This study aimed to increase the understanding of the associations between occupational therapy students’ academic performance, and their approaches to studying and perceptions of the learning environment. Method: A cross-sectional study was designed, and 174 first-year students completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students and the Course Experience Questionnaire, in addition to background information. Data on grades were collected from the data registries of each education institution, and associations were analyzed by multiple linear regression. Results: None of the learning environment scales were associated with grades. Adjusting for all variables, better exam results were associated with being female (β = 0.22, p < 0.01) and having higher scores on strategic approach (β = 0.31, p < 0.001) and lower scores on surface approach (β = -0.20, p < 0.01). Conclusion: The study suggests that students with a desire for obtaining good grades ought to use strategic study behaviors and avoid using surface approach behaviors. While it is important to ensure good quality of the learning environment for a variety of reasons, the learning environment did not contribute significantly to explain the students’ academic performance.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background To support students’ motivation towards constructive and persistent study efforts, their learning environment needs attention. Aim To develop knowledge about occupational therapy students’ perceptions of the learning environment and assess whether identified differences between education programs were stable or changed across the 3 years of study. Methods Norwegian occupational therapy students completed the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) while in their first, second, and third years of study. Differences between programs were analysed with multivariate and univariate analysis of variance. Results Among the first-year students, perceptions of the learning environment differed significantly between the six programs on five out of six scales. Apart from a continued difference on overall study satisfaction, the initial differences were no longer significant 1 year later. Differences on three scales (emphasis on independence, appropriate workload, and generic skills) were present in the third year of study. Conclusions and significance Students’ perceptions of the learning environment became more similar over time, during the first 2 years of study, possibly reflecting that the students have become more accustomed to the student role and to the culture and requirements of the education programs. However, differences between study sites re-occurring in the third year suggest that group-based comparisons of learning environment perceptions across time may be inconclusive.
Mikkel Magnus Thørrisen
added a research item
Background Productive approaches to studying (deep and strategic learning) are associated with a variety of favourable academic outcomes, and may be of particular importance for students in multifaceted and complex disciplines such as occupational therapy. Aim To explore associations between student characteristics and their dominant approaches to studying in two samples of occupational therapy students: a national sample of Norwegian first-year students, and an international sample of students in different year cohorts (Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Norway). Materials and methods A total of 180 (national sample) and 665 (international sample) students were included in the study. Approaches to studying were measured with the Approaches to Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). Data were analyzed with adjusted multinomial regression analyses. Results Age, gender and prior higher education were not associated with the dominant study approach. More time spent on independent study (international sample: OR = 1.07/1.08, p < 0.01/<0.001) and having current study program as the top priority line of education at enrolment (national sample: OR = 2.89, p < 0.05) predicted productive study approaches. Conclusions and significance Factors such as age, gender and prior higher education seem to be of limited importance for understanding students’ dominant approaches to studying.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
The purpose of the current study was to (i) confirm the factor structure of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) in the current sample of undergraduate occupational therapy students, and (ii) to explore the pattern of associations between the 13 ASSIST subscales. Occupational therapy students (n= 171) across Norway completed the ASSIST. A three‐factor structure was confirmed. Several positive associations were found between the deep and strategic approach subscales, whereas several surface approach subscales were negatively associated with the deep and strategic approach subscales. In conclusion, the study showed that the Norwegian ASSIST has a well‐functioning three‐factor structure in line with its theoretical underpinnings, and it can therefore readily be adopted as a study process measure in Norwegian occupational therapy education programs. In view of the associations between subscales, there is support for a higher‐order concept of ‘productive’ study approaches that encompasses both deep and strategic behaviors. The analysis of associations also suggests that students demonstrating unproductive study behaviors may need guidance and intervention that extends beyond the first detected problematic behavior. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Purpose Student satisfaction is an important indicator of educational quality in higher education institutions. Learning environment factors are assumed to play a role in determining student satisfaction. The purpose of this study is to examine the intrinsic relationships between five learning environment scales embedded within one measure; and examine the associations between each of these scales and an overall measure of education program satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach In this cross-sectional study, 175 first-year occupational therapy students in Norway completed sociodemographic information and the Course Experience Questionnaire. The data were analyzed with Pearson’s correlation coefficient r and with linear regression. Findings All intrinsic associations between the learning environment scales were positive. In the adjusted analysis, higher education program satisfaction was significantly associated with higher scores on “clear goals and standards,” “emphasis on independence” and “good teaching.” The final model accounted for 45.0% of the outcome variance, of which the scores on the learning environment scales contributed 41.8%. Originality/value The learning environment is vital for student satisfaction. More specifically, efforts to improve student satisfaction may include strengthening student-focused teaching, strengthening the autonomy of the students, and ensuring that the goals and standards of courses are clear and easy to understand.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Aspects of the learning environment may be related to students`approaches to studying, but few studies have investigated these relationships in the context of occupational therapy education. Objective: To examine associations between occupational therapy students' perceptions of the learning environment and their approaches to studying. Method: One hundred eighty-seven first-year occupational therapy students in Norway (response rate 61.3%) participated in this study. Aside from sociodemographic information, the students completed the Course Experience Questionnaire and the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students. Associations between learning environment variables and study approaches were investigated with hierarchical linear regression analyses. Results: Higher scores on Generic skills were associated with higher scores on the deep and strategic approach scales (β ranging 0.18-0.51), while lower scores were associated with higher surface approach scale scores (β = − 0.24). Lower scores on Clear goals and standards and Appropriate workload were associated with higher surface approach scores (β ranging − 0.16-0.42). Conclusion: By improving aspects of the learning environment, there may be a potential for influencing occupational therapy students' approaches to studying. Based on this study, emphasizing how generic skills developed in the study program may become useful in practising a profession, ensuring clarity of goals and standards, and maintaining an appropriate workload on students appear to be important.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Students’ approaches to studying have been associated with their academic performance. Although previous research suggests that the cultural and educational context may influence approaches to studying, few studies have investigated differences in study approaches across education programs. The aim of this study was to examine whether approaches to studying differed among occupational therapy students enrolled in six different educational programs in Norway. From a population of 308 students, 187 first-year occupational therapy students in six educational programs in Norway were recruited. The students provided their sociodemographic information and completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST), and group differences were analyzed with Chi-square tests and one-way analyses of variance. Scores on the deep and surface approach scales did not differ significantly among the students in the six educational programs, while there was an overall difference in scores on the strategic approach scale. Group differences regarding the subscales were minor, and only a few of the pairwise differences reached statistical significance. Differences at the education program level appear not to be important for the interpretation of differences in study approaches among students.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Aspects of the learning environment may be related to students` approaches to studying, but few studies have investigated these relationships in the context of occupational therapy education. Objective: To examine associations between occupational therapy students’ perceptions of the learning environment and their approaches to studying. Method: 187 first-year occupational therapy students in Norway (response rate 61.3 %) participated in this study. Aside from sociodemographic information, the students completed the Course Experience Questionnaire and the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students. Associations between learning environment variables and study approaches were investigated with hierarchical linear regression analyses. Results: Higher scores on Generic skills were associated with higher scores on the deep and strategic approach scales (β ranging 0.18-0.51), while lower scores were associated with higher surface approach scale scores (β = -0.24). Lower scores on Clear goals and standards and Appropriate workload were associated with higher surface approach scores (β ranging -0.16 - -0.42). Conclusion: By improving aspects of the learning environment, there may be a potential for influencing occupational therapy students’ approaches to studying. Based on this study, emphasizing how generic skills developed in the study program may become useful in practising a profession, ensuring clarity of goals and standards, and maintaining an appropriate workload on students appear to be important.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Aspects of the learning environment may be related to students` approaches to studying, but few studies have investigated these relationships in the context of occupational therapy education. Objective: To examine associations between occupational therapy students’ perceptions of the learning environment and their approaches to studying. Method: 187 first-year occupational therapy students in Norway (response rate 61.3 %) participated in this study. Aside from sociodemographic information, the students completed the Course Experience Questionnaire and the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students. Associations between learning environment variables and study approaches were investigated with hierarchical linear regression analyses. Results: Higher scores on Generic skills were associated with higher scores on the deep and strategic approach scales (β ranging 0.18-0.51), while lower scores were associated with higher surface approach scale scores (β = -0.24). Lower scores on Clear goals and standards and Appropriate workload were associated with higher surface approach scores (β ranging -0.16 - -0.42). Conclusion: By improving aspects of the learning environment, there may be a potential for influencing occupational therapy students’ approaches to studying. Based on this study, emphasizing how generic skills developed in the study program may become useful in practising a profession; ensuring clarity of goals and standards; and maintaining an appropriate workload on students appear to be important.
Tore Bonsaksen
added 2 research items
Students' approaches to studying are generally viewed as essential for their learning outcomes and are often described as being either deep, strategic or surface. However, research on associations between study approaches and academic outcomes among occupational therapy students are rare, as are studies that include cross-cultural comparisons. The objective of this study was to assess the degree to which the deep, strategic, and surface approaches to studying were associated with occupational therapy students' grade point average, in the total sample and when stratified by country, while controlling for age, gender and time spent on independent study. Seven hundred and twelve students from four countries (Australia, Norway, Hong Kong, and Singapore) completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students, and sum scores were calculated for the deep, strategic, and surface scales. Linear regression analyses were used to investigate associations between scale scores and grade point average, in the total sample and within each of the four sub-samples. The results showed that in the total sample, and in the Australia and Singapore sub-samples, none of the scales was associated with grade point average. In Hong Kong, lower deep approach scores and higher strategic approach scores were associated with higher grade point average. In Norway, higher strategic approach scores and lower surface approach scores were associated with higher grade point average. The study found that the approaches to studying scales were relevant for understanding academic performance among occupational therapy students in Norway and Hong Kong, but appeared less useful in the Australian and Singapore contexts.
When planning to use measurement scales in new samples and contexts, examining the scales' psychometric properties is an important initial step. This study examined the factor structure and internal consistency of two measures that are part of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST)-the Conceptions of learning and Preferences for teaching and courses-in a sample of American occupational therapy students. The students (n = 115) completed the measures and provided basic sociodemographic information. Scale structure was examined with Principal Components Analysis (PCA), while consistency between scale items was assessed with mean inter-item correlations. For the Conceptions of learning measure, one item was removed due to cross-loading between factors. The subsequent analysis revealed two factors, representing deep and surface conceptions of learning, on which the items-with one exception-loaded in line with theory. For the Preferences for teaching and courses measure, two factors were found, representing preferences denoted in theory as supporting understanding and transmitting information, respectively. The items showed good fit with the two theoretically proposed factors. The scales' mean inter-item correlations were satisfactory, ranging 0.27-0.36. One item on the Conceptions of learning measure appears to be problematic due to cross-loading, and another may be interpreted in a different way than originally proposed. After removing the problematic item, all scales showed satisfactory psychometric properties for assessing conceptions of learning and preferences for teaching.
Gry Mørk
added a research item
Learning is a central occupation for university students. How students perceive the learning environment may be particularly important for first year students. Aim of study was to explore first year occupational therapy students’ experiences and perceptions of learning and their learning environment. The study applied a qualitative descriptive design. We conducted four in depth focus group interviews with six first year occupational therapy students. To analyze the empirical material we used a theory driven thematic analysis, with a transactional perspective in the discussion of results. The analysis indicated one main theme “New modules- new shocks” and three categories related to the experienced differences between modules. 1) Knowing that you are going to work with people, but the profession is unfamiliar; 2) Getting accustomed to new ways of thinking, reasoning and communicating 3) Preparing for learning: reading, organizing the reading list and written tasks. Entering a new study program is a demanding process. Transitioning between four different modules in the first year also requires that students adapt to different expectations, use of language and learning styles between teachers, which can be demanding in itself. Teachers and students have a common responsibility for establishing a good learning environment.
Trine Alise Magne
added a research item
In addition to securing minimum standards of learning among students, assessment is used as a tool to improve learning (1). Assessment quality is measured with the Course Experience Questionnaire (2); however, the assessment scale has demonstrated ambiguous psychometric properties. To improve the sustainability of occupational therapy education, the current study aimed to increase our understanding of students’ perceptions of assessment by analyzing the factor structure and internal consistency of the six items on the “appropriate assessment” scale among 187 Norwegian students with Principal Components Analysis, Cronbach’s α and mean inter-item correlations. Three factors were extracted from the data: Factor 1 (three items, α = 0.51) concerned assessment content, Factor 2 (two items, α = 0.62) concerned the assessment context, whereas Factor 3 (one item) concerned feedback following assessment. Thus, the results indicate that assessment is a multi-faceted phenomenon that relates to the content of assessment, context for assessment and the feedback following the assessment. In view of the mean feedback score being considerable lower than the mean scores on assessment content and assessment context, feedback appears to be an important area of improvement for the occupational therapy programs, as well as a venue for further research (3).
Tore Bonsaksen
added 2 research items
Shortening measurement scales can improve the scales' feasibility, but at the same time, their measurement properties can be affected. This study investigated psychometric properties of the short Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) among occupational therapy students in the United States. The students (n = 120) completed the ASSIST and provided basic socio-demographic and education-related information. Scale structure was examined with Principal Components Analysis (PCA), while consistency between scale items was assessed with Cronbach's α and inter-item correlations. Three factors were confirmed, but three items showed poor or ambiguous fit with the proposed scales. These items were subsequently removed from the scales, resulting in improved fit with the expected three-factor solution. Cronbach's α for the amended scales ranged from 0.55-0.70 (mean inter-item correlation 0.20-0.34). In conclusion, the amended short ASSIST scales showed satisfactory psychometric properties for assessing study approaches in the sample. Given the variability in psychometric properties found for the short ASSIST scales across studies, the properties of the instrument should preferably be checked before using the scales with new populations.
In addition to securing minimum standards of learning among students, assessment is increasingly used as a tool to improve students' learning. Assessment quality is measured as part of the Course Experience Questionnaire; however, the original 'appropriate assessment' scale has demonstrated ambiguous psychometric properties. The current study aimed to gain knowledge about occupational therapy students' perceptions of assessment, and this was achieved by examining the factor structure and internal consistency of the six items on the 'appropriate assessment' scale. Students from six Norwegian universities (n = 187, response rate 61.3 %) completed the scale and reported demographic information. The factor structure of the scale was assessed with Principal Components Analysis and Parallel Analysis, and internal consistency was assessed with Cronbach's α and mean inter-item correlations. Three factors were extracted from the data: Factor 1 (three items, α = 0.51) is concerned with the content of assessment. Factor 2 (two items, α = 0.62) is concerned with the context of assessment. Finally, Factor 3 (one item) is concerned with the feedback to students following assessment. In view of the item mean scores, feedback in particular appears to be an area of improvement for the occupational therapy programs, as well as a venue for further research.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
This study investigated the measurement properties of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) in a cross-cultural sample, and in each of the four subsamples from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Norway.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background/aim The Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) has been used previously to assess the learning approaches among students in higher education, but reports of its use with occupational therapy students are rare. This study investigated the factor structure of the ASSIST in a cross‐cultural sample of undergraduate occupational therapy students, and examined whether the factor structure from specific participant groups from different cross‐cultural contexts was consistent. Methods Occupational therapy students (n = 712) from education programmes in Australia, Norway, Hong Kong and Singapore completed the ASSIST. To assess the factor structure of the instrument, a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) using a confirmatory approach, was completed. Cronbach's coefficient α and inter‐item correlations were used to assess the internal consistency of the ASSIST and its subscales. Results For the whole sample, the PCA confirmed the three primary factors as previously established. Five subscales loaded on the first factor (strategic approach). Four subscales loaded on the second factor (surface approach), whereas the remaining four subscales loaded on the third factor (deep approach). Repeating the analysis for each of the country‐specific samples produced slightly diverging factor structures for the samples from Australia and Hong Kong. Conclusion Considering all the data, the ASSIST subscales that emerged from the PCA used with a confirmatory approach in this study revealed a good degree of concordance with the established original factor, scale and subscale structure. The slightly deviating results obtained for the Hong Kong student group indicate that the established factor structure may not be the best fit across all settings, cultural contexts and sample groups.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background/aim: The Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) has been used previously to assess the learning approaches among students in higher education, but reports of its use with occupational therapy students are rare. This study investigated the factor structure of the ASSIST in a cross‐cultural sample of undergraduate occupational therapy students, and examined whether the factor structure from specific participant groups from different cross‐cultural contexts was consistent. Methods: Occupational therapy students (n = 712) from education programmes in Australia, Norway, Hong Kong and Singapore completed the ASSIST. To assess the factor structure of the instrument, a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) using a confirmatory approach, was completed. Cronbach's coefficient α and inter‐item correlations were used to assess the internal consistency of the ASSIST and its subscales. Results: For the whole sample, the PCA confirmed the three primary factors as previously established. Five subscales loaded on the first factor (strategic approach). Four subscales loaded on the second factor (surface approach), whereas the remaining four subscales loaded on the third factor (deep approach). Repeating the analysis for each of the country‐specific samples produced slightly diverging factor structures for the samples from Australia and Hong Kong. Conclusion: Considering all the data, the ASSIST subscales that emerged from the PCA used with a confirmatory approach in this study revealed a good degree of concordance with the established original factor, scale and subscale structure. The slightly deviating results obtained for the Hong Kong student group indicate that the established factor structure may not be the best fit across all settings, cultural contexts and sample groups.
Tore Bonsaksen
added 2 research items
Background: Students’ conceptualization of learning have been associated with their approaches to studying. However, whether students’ learning concepts are associated with their personal characteristics is unknown. Aim: To investigate whether sociodemographic, education-related and personal factors were associated with the learning concepts of Norwegian occupational therapy students. Methods: One hundred and forty-nine students (mean age 23.9 years, 79.2 % women) participated in the study. The employed self-report questionnaires included the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Differences between student cohorts were analyzed with one-way analyses of variance and χ2-tests, whereas factors associated with the students’ learning concepts were analyzed with bivariate correlation and linear regression models. Results: The students’ mean scores on the deep and surface learning concept scales were similar. Spending more time on independent study was associated with having higher scores on the unidimensional learning concept measure. Conclusions: The students’ learning concept appears to encompass a surface concept as well as a deep concept of learning, and the two ways of conceptualizing learning was positively related to each other. Over time, a mature deep concept may add to, rather than replace, a basic surface concept of learning.
Background: The shortening of measurement scales may improve their feasibility, but may also affect the scales’ measurement properties. This study investigated the psychometric properties of the short Norwegian Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) among occupational therapy students. Methods: The students (n = 148) completed the Norwegian ASSIST and provided socio-demographic data. Scale structure was examined with Principal Components Analysis (PCA). Scale consistency was assessed with Cronbach’s α. Bivariate associations between the full and short scales were examined with Pearson’s r. Linear regression analyses were used to assess associations between scale scores and the students’ average exam grade. Results: Three factors were confirmed, but one item did not fit within the deep approach scale. Cronbach’s α for the scales ranged 0.64–0.71. The full-length scales were strongly associated with the corresponding short scales, r ranging 0.85–0.87. For the surface scales, the full-length and short scale scores were both associated with the students’ average exam grade. For the strategic scale, only the full-length scale scores were associated with exam grade. Conclusions: The short scales of the Norwegian ASSIST have satisfactory psychometric properties and represent a feasible way of assessing students’ study approaches in Norwegian higher education.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Research into occupational therapy students’ approaches to studying is growing, and research has shown approaches to studying to be associated with academic performance. However, learning conceptions and preferences for teaching among occupational therapy students’ have rarely been reported, and their relationships to study approaches need to be empirically investigated. Aim: This study aimed to investigate sociodemographic and education-related factors associated with approaches to studying among occupational therapy students in Norway. Methods: Occupational therapy students (n = 149) from one education program in Norway completed questionnaires related to approaches to studying, learning conception, preferences for teaching, and sociodemographic factors. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were used to examine the independent variables’ associations with approaches to studying. Results: Higher age was associated with higher deep approach scores and lower surface approach scores, whereas being female was associated with higher surface approach scores. Higher scores on learning conception was associated with higher scores on the deep and the strategic approaches. Higher scores on supporting understanding was associated with higher scores on the deep and strategic approaches, whereas higher scores on transmitting information was associated with higher scores on the surface approach. Conclusions: This study provides increased understanding of the associations between students’ learning conceptions, preferences for teaching and approaches to studying. The results contribute to educators’ knowledge base from which they can adapt their way of teaching according to student group characteristics.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Introduction/Rationale: Learning outcomes may be a result of several factors including the learning environment, students’ predispositions, study efforts, cultural factors and approaches towards studying. Research on occupational therapy students has not yet examined associations between students’ study approaches and subsequent exam grades. Objectives: This objective of this study was to examine the influence of demographic variables, education-related factors, and approaches to studying on occupational therapy students’ Grade Point Average (GPA). Methods: Undergraduate occupational therapy students (n = 712) from four countries completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). Demographic background, education-related factors, and ASSIST scores were used in a hierarchical linear regression analysis to predict the students’ GPA. Results: Being older, being female, and spending more time engaged with independent study activities were associated with higher GPA among the students. In addition, five ASSIST subscales predicted higher GPA: higher scores on ‘seeking meaning’, ‘achieving’, and ‘lack of purpose’, and lower scores on ‘time management’ and ‘fear of failure’. The full model accounted for 9.6 % of the variance related to the occupational therapy students’ GPA. Conclusion: To improve academic performance among occupational therapy students, it appears important to increase their personal search for meaning and motivation for achievement, and to reduce their fear of failure. Due to the small effect sizes and the modest amount of variance explained by the regression model, it is suggested that further research be completed to examine potential predictors of students’ academic performance.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Students’ academic outcomes may be a result of several factors including the students’ personal characteristics, their study behaviors, and characteristics of the learning environment. This study examined the associations between age, gender, approaches to studying, and academic performance in Norwegian occupational therapy students. Methods: Occupational therapy students (n = 160) completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). Age, gender, and ASSIST subscale scores were used in a hierarchical linear regression analysis to predict the students’ average academic performance. Results: Higher age and female gender were associated with higher academic performance among the students. In addition, three ASSIST subscales were associated with higher performance: higher scores on achieving and lack of purpose, and lower scores on fear of failure. The full model accounted for 27.3 percent of the outcome variance. Conclusions: To improve academic performance among occupational therapy students, it appears important to increase their motivation for achievement, and to reduce their fear of failure.
Tore Bonsaksen
added 2 research items
Response to reviewer comments regarding the article "Approaches to studying predict academic performance in undergraduate occupational therapy students: a cross-cultural study"
Review reports related to the article "Approaches to studying predict academic performance in undergraduate occupational therapy students: a cross-cultural study"
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Students’ preferences for teaching have been associated with their own approaches to studying. However, whether teaching preferences are associated with a set of student characteristics is yet unknown. Aim: To investigate whether sociodemographic, education-related and personal factors were associated with preferences for teaching among Norwegian occupational therapy students. Methods: One hundred and forty-six students (mean age 23.7 years, 78.8% women) participated in the study. Self-report questionnaires were employed, including the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Differences between student cohorts were analyzed with one-way analyses of variance and χ2-tests, whereas factors associated with the students’ teaching preferences were analyzed with linear regression models. Results: Overall, the students preferred teaching oriented toward “transmitting information” over teaching oriented toward “supporting understanding”. Higher age, higher levels of general self-efficacy and spending more time on independent study were associated with having a stronger preference for the “supporting understanding” teaching type. Conclusions: Compared to their counterparts, students of higher age, who study more independently, and who have higher general self-efficacy are more inclined to prefer teaching that supports understanding, which is compatible with the expectations in higher education institutions.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Students’ preferences for teaching have been associated with their own approaches to studying. However, whether teaching preferences are associated with a set of student characteristics is yet unknown. Aim: To investigate whether sociodemographic, education-related and personal factors were associated with preferences for teaching among Norwegian occupational therapy students. Methods: One hundred and forty-six students (mean age 23.7 years, 78.8% women) participated in the study. Self-report questionnaires were employed, including the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Differences between student cohorts were analyzed with one-way analyses of variance and χ2-tests, whereas factors associated with the students’ teaching preferences were analyzed with linear regression models. Results: Overall, the students preferred teaching oriented towards “transmitting information” over teaching oriented towards “supporting understanding”. Higher age, higher levels of general self-efficacy and spending more time on independent study were associated with having a stronger preference for the “supporting understanding” teaching type. Conclusions: Compared to their counterparts, students of higher age, who study more independently, and who have higher general self-efficacy are more inclined to prefer teaching that supports understanding, which is compatible with the expectations in higher education institutions.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Research into occupational therapy education and its outcomes for students is growing. More research is needed to determine the factors of importance for occupational therapy students’ academic outcomes. This study aimed to investigate factors associated with academic performance among second-year undergraduate occupational therapy students in Norway. Methods: Occupational therapy students (n = 111) from two education programs completed questionnaires asking for sociodemographic, work-related, and education-related information. Hierarchical linear regression analysis was used to examine factors independently associated with the students’ academic performance. Results: A higher age was associated with better average academic performance among the students, whereas having higher education experience before entering the occupational therapy program was associated with poorer average academic performance. Conclusions: Students of a higher age may have life experience that easily translates into good academic results, and they may represent an under-used resource for improving the academic climate and understanding subsequent exam results among undergraduate occupational therapy students. However, prior higher education experience from disciplines different from occupational therapy, and that hold different expectations toward students, may hinder good academic performance in occupational therapy coursework.
Tore Bonsaksen
added 2 research items
Høyere generell mestringsforventning viste sammenhenger med læringsstiler i tråd med hypotesene: Positive sammenhenger med dyp og strategisk læringsstil, og negativ sammenheng med overflatisk læringsstil.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Approaches to studying may be influenced by students’ age, maturity, and experience in higher education. Students’ approaches to studying may develop toward deep and/or strategic approaches and away from a surface approach as they move through the curriculum, which is generally considered a positive development. This study aimed to identify differences in approaches to studying among first-, second-, and third-year students enrolled in an occupational therapy program. Three cohorts of students (n = 160) from one university college completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) along with sociodemographic information. One-way analyses of variance were used to identify differences in approaches to studying among the student cohorts. The scores on the ASSIST were largely similar between the cohorts. However, first-year students had higher scores on the surface approach and on syllabus-boundness, compared to third-year students. There was a linear trend of decreasing scores on these two scales: from highest among first-year students to lowest among third-year students. With few exceptions, students in three cohorts showed similar levels of deep, strategic, and surface approaches to studying. More efforts should be placed on assisting students to adopt a deep and/or strategic approach to studying and to reduce a surface approach.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: The quality of students’ learning in higher education depends on the quality of the teaching and the learning environment, but may also depend on the students’ own perceptions of what learning is and what teaching should be like. Valid and feasible measures are needed to examine students’ conceptualizations of learning and preferences for teaching. This study examined the factor structure of two measures taken from the Norwegian version of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST), and examined the relationships between the derived scales. Methods: Occupational therapy students (n = 160) from one education program completed the ASSIST and provided sociodemographic information. A Principal Components Analysis (PCA) was performed on the two ASSIST measures, and factor extraction was controlled using Parallel Analysis. Reliability was analyzed with Cronbach’s alpha and inter-item correlations. Bivariate associations were assessed With Pearson’s correlation coefficient r. Results: The PCA confirmed the factors as previously established. «Conceptions of learning» consisted of a «deep» concept of learning as understanding, and a «surface» concept of learning as reproducing knowledge. However, the Parallel Analysis suggested that all items in this measure were expressions of the same latent factor. «Preferences for different types of courses and teaching» consisted of a preference for teaching as «supporting understanding» and as «transmitting information». Conclusions: The Norwegian «Conceptions of learning» and «Preferences for teaching» scales may prove useful for educators who want a quick insight into occupational therapy students’ views on learning and their preferences for teaching.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
The aim of this study was to explore associations between self-esteem, general self-efficacy, and the deep, strategic, and surface approaches to studying. Norwegian occupational therapy students (n = 125) completed questionnaires measuring study approaches, self-esteem, and general self-efficacy. Regression analyses were used to explore the direct relationships between self-esteem, general self-efficacy and the approaches to studying, after controlling for age, gender, prior higher education, and time spent on independent studying. General self-efficacy displayed positive associations with deep and strategic approaches to studying and a negative relationship with a surface approach to studying. Self-esteem was not significantly associated with approaches to studying.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Learning outcomes may be a result of several factors including the learning environment, students’ predispositions, study efforts, cultural factors and approaches towards studying. This study examined the influence of demographic variables, education-related factors, and approaches to studying on occupational therapy students’ Grade Point Average (GPA). Methods: Undergraduate occupational therapy students (n=712) from four countries completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). Demographic background, education-related factors, and ASSIST scores were used in a hierarchical linear regression analysis to predict the students’ GPA. Results: Being older, female and more time engaged in self-study activities were associated with higher GPA among the students. In addition, five ASSIST subscales predicted higher GPA: higher scores on ‘seeking meaning’, ‘achieving’, and ‘lack of purpose’, and lower scores on ‘time management’ and ‘fear of failure’. The full model accounted for 9.6% of the variance related to the occupational therapy students’ GPA. Conclusions: To improve academic performance among occupational therapy students, it appears important to increase their personal search for meaning and motivation for achievement, and to reduce their fear of failure. The results should be interpreted with caution due to small effect sizes and a modest amount of variance explained by the regression model, and further research on predictors of academic performance is required.
Tore Bonsaksen
added 2 research items
Background: Students may adopt various approaches to academic learning. Occupational therapy students’ approaches to study and the impact of cultural context have not been formally investigated to date. Aim: To examine the approaches to study adopted by undergraduate occupational therapy students from four different cultural settings. Method: 712 undergraduate occupational therapy students (n = 376 from Australia, n = 109 from Hong Kong, n = 160 from Norway and n = 67 from Singapore) completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare the ASSIST subscales for the students from the four countries. Results: Post-hoc comparisons using the Tukey HSD test indicated that the mean scores for the strategic approach were significantly different between Australia and the other three countries. The mean scores for the surface approach were significantly different between Australia and Hong Kong, and Hong Kong and Norway. There were no significant differences between the deep approach to studying between Australia, Norway, Singapore and Hong Kong. Conclusion & implications: Culture and educational context do appear to impact the approaches to study adopted by undergraduate occupational therapy students. Academic and practice educators need to be cognizant of what approaches to studying the students they work with adopt.
A national survey reported college students showed higher risk of mental health problems than the general population. Using self-efficacy and self-esteem as indicators of mental health, this study explores sociodemographic, relational, educational, and work factors associated with these outcomes. A sample of 148 occupational therapy students in Norway participated, and data were analyzed with multiple linear regression. Factors associated with positive self-efficacy and self-esteem were higher general satisfaction with the education program, amount of time spent on self-study, and being male. Implications are attention toward female students' self-perceptions, improving the learning environment, and encouraging students to do more self-study.
Tore Bonsaksen
added 2 research items
Introduction In response to continues changes in the world including changes in people's life style, health related factors and service delivery; there is always a need for reviewing the curriculums in every educational level. This is to respond appropriately to the needs of community and ensuring that students are prepared to meet the demands of their clients. Occupational therapy programs should prepare students to be equipped with the related knowledge and skills. This requires a comprehensive educational philosophy with methods and strategies to implement it. The occupational therapy program at the Oxford Brookes University put together a team of academic occupational therapists who worked collaboratively to address this. The occupational therapy degree at the Oxford Brookes University is a 3 year full time program, and it progresses in three sequential orders to meet the prerequisites of each new module students take. As a result of continuous reflection of the members of staff and in response to students' feedback about the course some curriculum changes were proposed. The following key changes that are related to the purpose of this paper are:  An educational philosophy and learning strategies and methods that facilitates appropriate educational climate for deep and transferable student learning  A more integrated curriculum aligning skills with theory and their application in practice 2 This paper aims to provide a brief report of the outcome of the changes that were made to the curriculum by particular focus on integrating the Model of Human Occupation; the challenges and strategies applied to facilitate these changes to happen This report is developed around the following main points: spiral curriculum and enquiry based learning and teaching, the relevance of spiral curriculum and MOHO, integrating MOHO into curriculum across the three years program, and the issues around process of change.
Tore Bonsaksen
added 3 research items
Research assistants In Occupational Therapy (RIOT): An opportunity for the advancement of occupational therapy? A systematic body of theory, a professional culture and a code of ethics are necessary characteristics of a profession (Jones and Stewart, 1998). Being a relatively young discipline and still drawing from the theory and evidence base of other disciplines, occupational therapy stands as a semi-profession, striving for acknowledgement as a true profession. One of the contributions to establishing a systematic body of theory is the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO; Kielhofner, 2008). The research assistant at the occupational therapy program in Oslo takes part in a range of research projects, including a cross-cultural validation study concerned with the MOHO-based Role Checklist. Through this work, the research assistant adds to the theoretical and methodological knowledge she otherwise acquires during her educational program, but she also contributes to expanding the knowledge base of occupational therapy. She takes part in the profession’s research culture by collecting, classifying and analysing data in collaboration with local and international partners. According to standing ethical guidelines, occupational therapists are obliged to participate in the further development of the profession and in research relating to human function, activity and participation (Norsk Ergoterapeutforbund [Norwegian Occupational Therapy Association], 2006). Placing capable students in the role of research assistants does not only advance the students’ personal knowledge. As this role prepares and motivates them for taking responsibility for the future research and development in the occupational therapy profession, it will also advance the knowledge base of the profession itself. References JONES, R. K. & STEWART, A. 1998. The sociology of the health professions. In: JONES, D., BLAIR, S. E. E., HARTERY, T. & JONES, R. K. (eds.) Sociology and Occupational Therapy: An integrated approach. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. KIELHOFNER, G. 2008. A Model of Human Occupation. Theory and Application., Baltimore, MD, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. NORSK ERGOTERAPEUTFORBUND [NORWEGIAN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION]. 2006. Yrkesetiske retningslinjer [Ethical guidelines]. Available: http://ergoterapeutene.org/Ergoterapeutene/om-ergoterapi/Ergoterapeuters-kompetanse/Yrkesetiske-retningslinjer#sthash.7bduijqx.dpuf [Accessed 20th November, 2014]
Nyere policy for høyere utdanning vektlegger at studenter gjennom sin utdanning skal få innblikk i forsknings- og utviklingsarbeid, men også involveres i det. Dette gjelder selv på lavere grads nivå (bachelornivået), som er det nivået som de norske ergoterapeututdanningene er lagt på. På hvilke måter slik involvering skal skje er imidlertid åpent, og det samme gjelder hva som skal til for at dette skal kunne skje på en god måte – hva er suksesskriteriene? Ved ergoterapeututdanningen i Oslo har førsteforfatteren, som er student i tredje studieår, innehatt en 20 % stilling som forskningsassistent siden september 2014. I løpet av det siste året har hun deltatt i forsknings- og utviklingsprosjekter av ulike typer og omfang. I denne artikkelen beskriver vi ulike typer av motivasjon for å inkludere studenter i forsknings- og utviklingsarbeid og hvordan vi har utformet rollen som forskningsassistent ved vårt institutt. Vi vil beskrive nærmere det vi oppfatter som suksesskriterier og noen aktuelle utfordringer knyttet til en slik ordning.
Introduction: Academic educators and practice education supervisors aim to provide optimal learning opportunities for occupational therapy students. Education theory states that if students engage in activities that promote deep learning rather than superficial learning, then skills and knowledge will be better integrated and retained. Upon graduation, students will also be more practice ready and have better integrated clinical reasoning skills. Also, there is increasing globalization of tertiary education with many students moving to other countries to complete their professional education. Therefore, establishing an overview of occupational therapy students’ approaches to study from a cross-cultural perspective will provide valuable insights for academic educators or practice education supervisors. Objectives: To investigate if cross-cultural differences exist between undergraduate occupational therapy students from Australia, Norway and Hong Kong in their approaches to academic study Methods: Using a convenience sampling approach, 644 undergraduate occupational therapy students from Australia (n=376), Norway (n=159), and Hong Kong (n=109) completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) and a demographic questionnaire. The ASSIST measures students approaches students’ approach to student under three broad categories: Deep approach to learning; Strategic approach to studying; and Surface approach to academic studying. Data was analysed using analysis of variance to determine if significant differences existed between the three student groups. Findings: Australian students differed significantly from Norwegian and Hong Kong students on the following subscales: ‘Seeking Meaning’, ‘Organised Study’, and ‘Time Management’. Hong Kong students were significantly different from Australian students on the following subscales: ‘Alertness to Assessment Demands’, ‘Monitoring Effectiveness’, ‘Lack of Purpose’, and ‘Unrelated Memorising’. Norwegian students were significantly different from Hong Kong students on the following approaches to study: ‘Monitoring Effectiveness’, ‘Lack of Purpose’, and ‘Unrelated Memorising’. Overall, there were not significant differences between the three student groups on Deep approaches to learning, however, there were significant differences between all three participant groups on Strategic and Surface approaches to academic study. Practice & Education Implications: From the results, it appears occupational therapy students have similar approaches to Deep types of learning, but differ in their Strategic and Surface approaches academic study. This provides valuable information for academic and fieldwork educators of students. Conclusion: Students’ cultural background appears to impact their approaches to study. When academic educators and practice education supervisors are designing learning opportunities, they should take students’ cultural background into consideration. They should also provide a range of learning opportunities that facilitate and integrate Deep, Strategic, and Surface approaches to study.
Ted Brown
added 2 research items
Background/aim: The academic success and degree completion of tertiary students depends on their academic performance (AP), commonly measured by the percentage grades for the units they complete. No research has examined whether occupational therapy students' approaches to study are predictive of their AP. This study investigated whether approaches to study were predictive of the AP among a group of Australian undergraduate occupational therapy students. Methods: A total of 376 undergraduate occupational therapy students completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). Regression analysis was conducted using a range of demographic characteristics and the ASSIST scores as independent variables with students' self-reported by their self-reported mean percentage grade range (as a proxy indicator of their AP) as the dependent variable. Results: The deep and the strategic approaches to study were not significantly correlated with occupational therapy students' AP. The ASSIST fear of failure subscale of the surface approach to study had a unique contribution to AP, accounting for 1.3% of its total variance. Occupational therapy students' year level of enrolment made a unique contribution to their AP, accounting for 4.2% of the total variance. Age and gender made a unique contribution to AP as well although their impact was small. Conclusions: Undergraduate occupational therapy students' approaches to study were predictive of their AP to a very limited degree. However, their AP was predicted by a number of demographic variables, including age, gender and year level of enrolment. Further study in this area is recommended.
This study investigated whether occupational therapy students' emotional intelligence and personality traits are predictive of specific aspects of their fieldwork performance. A total of 114 second and third year undergraduate occupational therapy students (86.6% response rate) completed the Genos Emotional Intelligence Inventory (Genos EI) and the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI). Fieldwork performance scores were obtained from the Student Practice Evaluation Form Revised (SPEF-R). Linear regressions were completed with the SPEF-R domains being the dependent variables and the Genos EI and TIPI factors being the independent variables. Regression analysis results revealed that the Genos EI subscales of Emotional Management of Others (EMO), Emotional Awareness of Others (EAO), Emotional Expression (EEX) and Emotional Reasoning (ERE) were significant predictors of various domains of students' fieldwork performance. EAO and ERE were significant predictors of students' Communication Skills accounting for 4.6% of its variance. EMO, EAO, EEX and ERE were significant predictors of students' Documentation Skills explaining 6.8% of its variance. EMO was a significant predictor of students' Professional Behaviour accounting for 3.2% of its variance. No TIPI factors were found to be significant predictors of the SPEF-R domains. Occupational therapy students' emotional intelligence was a significant predictor of components of their fieldwork performance while students' personality traits were not. The convenience sampling approach used, small sample size recruited and potential issue of social desirability of the self-reported Genos EI and TIPI data are acknowledged as study limitations. It is recommended that other studies be completed to investigate if any other relevant constructs or factors are predictive of occupational therapy students' fieldwork performance. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Introduction: Academic educators and practice education supervisors aim to provide optimal learning opportunities for occupational therapy students. Education theory states that if students engage in activities that promote deep learning rather than superficial learning, then skills and knowledge will be better integrated and retained. In order to graduate from a professional program as a qualified occupational therapist, students have to maintain a specific grade point average. Students utlise a variety of approaches to learning and study to maintain their grade point average. Therefore, determining if occupational therapy students’ approaches to study and learning are predictive of their academic achievement will provide valuable insights for academic educators or practice education supervisors. Objectives: To investigate if undergraduate occupational therapy students’ from Australia, Norway and Hong Kong approaches to academic study are predictive of their grade point average. Methods: Using a convenience sampling approach, 644 undergraduate occupational therapy students from Australia (n=376), Norway (n=159), and Hong Kong (n=109) completed the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) and a demographic questionnaire. The ASSIST measures students approaches students’ approach to student under three broad categories: Deep approach to learning; Strategic approach to studying; and Surface approach to academic studying. Data was analysed using multiple linear regression where the students’ grade point average was the dependent variable and the ASSIST subscales were the independent variables. Findings: When the students’ grade point average was the dependent variable and the ASSIST subscales were the independent variables, the total regression model accounted for 8.1% of the students’ academic performance variance. In this model, it was also found that the ASSIST Deep Learning subscales of ‘Seeking Meaning’ and ‘Interest in Ideas’ each made small unique contributions of 0.96% and 0.55% of the students’ overall academic performance respectively. When the students’ grade point average was the dependent variable and the ASSIST Strategic Learning subscales were the independent variables, two were found to account for the 0.6% (‘Time Management’) and 1.85% of the variance. Finally, when the Surface Approach to Learning subscales were included, ‘Lack of Purpose’ accounted for 1.12% and ‘Fear of Failure’ accounted from 2.43% of the students’ academic results dependent variable respectively. Practice & Education Implications: From the results, it appears that occupational therapy students’ approaches to academic study are in part predictive of their overall academic performance. This provides valuable information for academic and fieldwork educators of students. Academic educators and practice education supervisors need to utilise a variety of learning and teaching strategies to facilitate Deep, Strategic and Surface Learning Approaches. Overall, it appears that Surface approaches to learning are the more substantial predictor of students’ academic success compared to Deep learning approaches which accounts for the least amount of variance. Conclusion: Deep approaches to learning; Strategic approaches to studying; and Surface approaches to academic studying are predictive of undergraduate occupational therapy students’ grade point average. When academic educators and practice education supervisors are designing learning opportunities, they should provide a range of learning opportunities that facilitate and integrate Deep, Strategic, and Surface approaches to study. This will in turn contribute towards students’ success in their academic studies.
Tore Bonsaksen
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Introduction Thriving and performing well in entry-level programmes is important to occupational therapy students, but also for the competitive status of the institutions providing their education. The literature is sparse concerning the factors of importance for occupational therapy students’ academic performance in, and satisfaction with, their education programme. Method This cross-sectional study explored sociodemographic, relationship, education and work-related variables and their associations with the students’ academic performance and satisfaction with the education programme. The data were analysed with multivariate linear regression. Results Participants were 123 students (mean age 24 years, 80% women) enrolled in an undergraduate occupational therapy programme in Norway. Having prior experience of higher education was associated with better academic performance, whereas having occupational therapy as the highest priority line of study at entry, and spending fewer hours on self-studies, were associated with lower satisfaction with the education programme. Conclusion To improve academic performance, occupational therapy educators are encouraged to help students learn about the tasks, requirements, standards and culture that constitute higher education. To improve satisfaction, it may be most efficient to target students who initially indicate the most interest in studying occupational therapy.
Tore Bonsaksen
added a research item
Background: Research on occupational therapy students has often been concerned with quite narrow topics. However, the basic characteristics of this group are yet to be examined in more depth. Methods: This study aimed to explore the sociodemographic, education-related, and work-related characteristics of occupational therapy students. A sample of 160 occupational therapy students in Norway participated. Differences between cohorts of students were examined with one-way analyses of variance (ANOVA) for continuous variables and with chi-square tests for categorical variables. Results: The sample had a mean age of 24 years and was predominantly female (79%). More than one -third of the students had one or both parents in an occupation requiring health education, whereas two-thirds of the students had one or both parents in an occupation requiring higher education. At entry, 57% of the participants had occupational therapy as their preferred choice of education and 43% had previous higher education experience. The few significant differences between the study cohorts were negligible. Conclusion: In the education programmes, specific attention may be considered for students with characteristics associated with increased risk of poorer study performance or other problems. This may concern male students and students with no previous higher education experience.
Tore Bonsaksen
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Related articles:
Bonsaksen, T. (2016). Predictors of Academic Performance and Education Programme Satisfaction in Occupational Therapy Students. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 79(6), 361-367. DOI: 10.1177/0308022615627174.
Bonsaksen, T., Kvarsnes, H., & Dahl, M. (2016). Who wants to go to occupational therapy school? Characteristics of Norwegian occupational therapy students. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 23(4), 297-303. DOI: 10.3109/11038128.2015.1105293.
Bonsaksen, T. (2015). Predictors of general self-efficacy and self-esteem in occupational therapy students: A cross-sectional study. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 31(3), 298-310. DOI: 10.1080/0164212X.2015.1055536.
Kvarsnes, H., Dahl, M., & Bonsaksen, T. (2015). Studenter som forskningsassistenter i ergoterapi – hvorfor og hvordan. Ergoterapeuten, 58(4), 32-37.
 
Tore Bonsaksen
added a project goal
A cross-cultural study of approaches to learning and studying among undergraduate occupational therapy students from Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Norway. A large sample was recruited (n = 712). Publications are in progress.
A new longitudinal study in Norway, following up on the cross-cultural study, aims at investigating how occupational therapy students develop across the three years of study. The study is concerned with their development in terms of approaches to studying, and also their perceptions of the learning environment.