Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) in an introductory course in chemistry
Approaches to study and learning may enhance or undermine educational outcomes, and thus it is important for educators to be knowledgeable about their students’ approaches to study and learning. TheApproaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students(ASSIST) – a 52 item inventory which identifies three learning styles (Deep, Strategic, and Surface), was given to first year undergraduate students undertaking an introductory chemistry course. Completed inventories (n=103, 85% response), included 30 BSc Biomedicine, 15 BSc Food and Nutrition, 22 BSc Geology, 18 BSc Science students, and a further 18 students on unnamed BSc pathways. The dominant learning style adopted was the Surface approach, with a mean score (SD) of 2.94 (0.54). The preference of the surface approach was consistent for all BSc pathways.There was a higher mean score for the strategic learning style in males (n= 59) compared to females (n=44) with no gender-based differences in either the deep or the surface learning styles.A surface approach may not necessarily indicate a lack of interest in chemistry, rather chemistry may be perceived as being peripheral to the students’ interests – this may be a problem when students with a diverse range of career aspirations study common content in large, first year introductory courses. Identifying students that adopt a surface learning style at an early stage in the undergraduate education journey is an important step in effectively targeting educational resources aimed at enhancing students’ learning habits.