Last changed 6 Jan 2003 ............... Length about 600 words (4000 bytes).
This is a WWW document by Steve Draper, installed at You may copy it. How to refer to it.

Web site logical path: [] [~steve] [courses] [lecture section] [this page]

Level4 Learning in Higher Education lectures

Contents (click to jump to a section)

Stephen W. Draper
Department of Psychology
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ U.K.
Phone: 0141-330 4961 (messages: 5089)
fax: 0141-330 5086


Dept. of Psychology
Level 4 Module: "Social Cognition"
Section on educational issues: "The application of cognition in learning and higher education"
Lectures 26-30 in handbook (p.74)
5 lectures, Boyd Orr lecture theatre E, 10am - 11 or 12 25 Jan - 15 Feb (weeks 13-16)

The lectures

1. Nature of learning in HE
2. Perry's view of development in HE
<small exercise>
3,4 Laurillard's model of the Learning & Teaching process
<big exercise>
5 Management of the learning & teaching process

List of handouts

  1. (2 sides) intro: similar to web page, which has more.
  2. OHPs (1 sides; 4 OHPs) covering first lecture.
  3. OHPs (1 sides; 4 OHPs) covering second lecture.
    Perry table (from web)
  4. Exericse (on D&S, Perry).
  5. OHPs (2 sides; 8 OHPs) Laurillard OHPs.
  6. Laurillard diagram
    Exercise on Laurillard
  7. Learning management paper (from web)
  8. Applying Laurillard to these lectures

World wide web (WWW)

Some things for this section are available on the WWW. You can read them online and/or print them off. I have created a special page with the most relevant pointers, and you might want to look at other stuff on my home page.

To get at all this:
Go to a computer cluster and log on.
Start up the WWW software (a "browser" like Netscape or Internet Explorer).
The address (called "URL") of the special page is:
My own home page is:


  1. If you start typing at "www" (i.e. omit the "http") the browser will probably fill that in for you
  2. The character "~" is called a "tilde". It is on every keyboard, but not in any standard position: you may take a minute to find it.
  3. You would also be able to find the page anyway: get to the university pages, from there find the psychology department pages, from there find my page, from there find a link to the level 4 page.
  4. On the WWW, click buttons and links ONCE only, not twice.
  5. Accessing web pages from the USA can be slow: particularly on weekday afternoons. If you get frustrated, try weekends.

Unlike printed books, documents on the web may be modified or deleted at any time. Because of this, citing such documents should take account of this. A sample citation might be:
Draper (1997, April, 11) Adding (negotiated) learning management to models of teaching and learning [WWW document] URL: (visited 1998, Nov, 5)

(See also this link for more details on citation style)


ONLY those with an asterisk (*) are in the library.

*Bereiter,C. & Scardamalia,M. "Intentional learning as a goal of instruction" ch.12 pp.361-392 in L.Resnick (ed.) (1989) Knowing, learning, and instruction: Essays in honor of Robert Glaser (Lawrence Erlbaum) [This is exactly on my introductory lecture: about viewing learning as problem-solving and goal-based behaviour.]

*Cole,M. & Scribner,S. (1977) "Cross-cultural studies of memory and cognition" ch.8 pp.239-271 in R.V.Kail & J.W.Hagan (eds.) Perspectives on the development of memory and cognition (Erlbaum: Hillsdale, N.J.)

Draper (1997) "Adding (negotiated) learning management to models of teaching and learning" [WWW paper: ] [provided as handout]

*Finster, D.C. (1989) "Developmental instruction" 2 articles, in Journal of chemical education vol.66 no.8 (Aug) pp.659-754 AND vol.68 no.9 (Sept) pp.752-756 [On applying Perry. In chemistry library, in Joseph Black building?]

*Laurillard, D. (1993) Rethinking university teaching: A framework for the effective use of educational technology (Routledge: London).

*Kuhn, D. (1991) The skills of argument (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge)

*Marton,F., D.Hounsell & N.Entwistle (1984) (eds.) The experience of learning (Edinburgh: Scottish academic press) [Key book on deep and shallow learning work]

*Papert, S.A. (1980) Mindstorms: Children, computers and powerful ideas (Basic Books: New York).

*Perry, W.G. (1968/70) Forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college years (New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston) [Main Perry book. Level 2 Short Loan Education N299 1999-P]

Perry, W.G. (1988) "Different worlds in the same classroom" in P.Ramsden Improving learning: new perspectives (London: Kogan Page)

*Putnam H. (1975) "The meaning of meaning" in Mind, language and reality (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press).

Rothkopf,E.Z. (1970) "The concept of mathemagenic activities" Review of educ. research vol.40 pp.325-336

Further work

Besides these references, or those of them in the library, are the web documents to read (see earlier section of this document).

I particularly recommend "thinking work" for the topic of these 5 lectures, for two reasons. Firstly, further library reading is not very extensive or convenient. Secondly, these ideas are not universally accepted, and their relationships not fully worked out. They need thinking about and questioning more than they need more facts, and that would be better evidence of real learning in this area. Perhaps a combination is best. Certainly I myself have read and re-read the Laurillard book and the Marton et al. book, finding it slow going because they provoke so much thought: are they right? where do their ideas break down and encounter exceptions?

But the best further work are the questions below, and more basically (and importantly): think of examples of your own for each thing: for each Laurillard activity, for what is deep and what shallow in each of several subjects.

Critical thinking questions

Here is a list of questions designed to prompt you to do on the subject of these lectures some of the linking advocated above. The advantage is: firstly, each question hopefully will require you to reprocess the material, and a rule of thumb is that the more processing the more learning and retention; and secondly, the more links made, the "deeper" the understanding and the more ways the same material could be re-used.

Example exam questions

  • Consider the teaching you have received for the skill of giving a presentation. Describe those of Laurillard's activities which were explicitly organised for you. Describe whether and how you in fact carried out other activities. Discuss whether you believe any of the omitted activities should have been organised, why, and how they might have been.

  • Discuss whether learning in higher education is well described and explained by the same theories as all other kinds of learning. If not, what are its distinctive features?

  • [1998] You are a psychology lecturer and a question you are frequently asked is "How many subjects do I need to run in this experiment?", in the clear hope of a simple answer such as "6" or "42". What do you think this reveals about the attitude of the questioner to this topic? You decide to address this gap in students' education once and for all, and design a small section of a course to do this. Sketch out the activities it might contain, referring to Laurillard's model, and justify you decisions on what to include and exclude. Are there any other issues which you believe to be important which do not fit the model?

  • [1999] Consider a proposal to convert all psychology department level 4 courses to a seminar-based, instead of a lecture-based, approach. That is, classes would now not consist of expositions by the lecturer, but of discussions of either pre-agreed published papers or else of student essays or a mixture. What do you think would be the good and bad aspects of this? Relate your views to Laurillard's theory, the notion of deep and shallow learning, and Perry's theory.

    [Outline answer] In a 40 hour course with 80 students, that would mean 30 minutes talk by each student in the course: which sounds modest but would be a big increase over current practice. This would correspond to activity 2 in Laurillard's theory, currently largely unsupported in level 4 courses. If the seminars required students to write papers for them, that would be a further increase in activity 2. Assuming the discussions did have a significant to and fro quality, then the iteration represented by activities 3 and 4 would be supported, as they are not by lectures. Assuming that exposition can be done as well by books and papers as by a lecturer, there would be no downside. If the discussion focussed, as is quite likely but not guaranteed, on the relationship of the concepts covered to students' own experiences and examples, this would address to some extent other parts of Laurillard's model. Whether the lectures they replace would do that is less likely, but might have been the case.

    Deep learning is likely to be better served by seminars to the extent that discussion does focus on issues the students did not understand straight away, or on examples as opposed to abstract descriptions, or on other senses of "deep". Furthermore, seminars should bolster attention to and skill at argumentation (i.e. "critical thinking"). Similarly, acquaintance with alternative views and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each: a point that relates more to Perry's theory.

    Perry's theory concerns getting away from a naive belief in a single right answer or view and considering rival merits of alternative views. Discussion is likely to promote this, although only a strong debate format would emphasise this.

    It would be sensible to comment firstly that the actual benefits would depend rather strongly on how the discussion was conducted (e.g. shy students, how to avoid a few doing all the talking, or tutors degenerating into lecturing); but equally, the benefits of the existing lecture system do too e.g. a number of lecturers already hold substantial discussions in "lectures". Another sensible comment in no way implied by the question or the lectures on this topic would be that a strong determinant of how much learning occurs is the number of hours each learner puts in independent of content: so a shift to a seminar system could be analysed from the simple, cynical, but important point of view of whether it would elicit more or less actual work (hours of mental processing) from students. Another is that feedback TO teachers on a) students' knowledge and ideas, b) on the effectiveness of the teaching is also important and also affected (probably for the better) by the proposed change.

  • [2000]
    The content and nature of teaching and learning activities are obviously important in determining learning outcomes in a university. However decisions about which activities will be done, and when, must also be crucial. Discuss this issue, using the first year psychology class as a specific illustration. Consider the "official" account of who is responsible for these decisions; whether in practice there are mechanisms by which others affect these decisions; and whether equality of influence of learners and teachers on these decisions is conceivable and desirable.

    Answer outline: This was an invitation to write about the TLP management paper/issue. Officially: Ts only do the management. Unofficially, mass failures or refusals or just poor performance affect things both at once and in reconsidering course design for next year.... I was hoping for a discussion of management issues, covering: curriculum, admin i.e. time and place for M-acts, selection and specific content of M-acts. Also feedback to Ls and feedback to Ts.

    [2001] Qu:
    Tourists in Cairns, Queensland may visit a "Mangrove boardwalk" (a short walk with information notices through a mangrove swamp), UK television watchers may see occasional "Nature" documentaries on mangroves, and students taking courses on ecosystems may study their importance. Discuss how these different settings for learning, and the different motivation structures learners may have, are observed to affect the quality and quantity of learning that occurs.

    I loved this question, but it didn't offer an easy in for students; but I suppose it did test how well they were able to think about the meaning of the theories.

    Expecting a discussion of BOTH deep&shallow AND the effect of having the goal of learning (in HE but not in informal learning). Many discussed Perry, though only one made it sound a bit relevant (ecology course at univ. should present balanced views of the issues). Many discussed Laurillard, and of course that does have some relevance. At least one discussed T vs. L, and the fact that only in the course could L interact with T.

    I definitely wanted a discussion of public vs. personal experience: linking the sounds and smells of the swamp to features; and how museums etc. and usually TV major on that link i.e. give you the experience, and write about the experiences conceptually. Also to address deep vs. shallow in relation to these personal experiences i.e. how the actual swamp or a striking TV makes you wonder about things. And a discussion of the main motivation issue: a) most TV and zoo visitors do not have a prior or extrinsic interest, so quantity of effort is low and so is the learning. b) but this will be variable: a small minority will have that prior motivation, and then will learn more. c) Intrinsic: a few will be so captured by what is presented that they will learn a lot. So probably the variation (individual diffs) will be big with TV and zoo.

    Web site logical path: [] [~steve] [courses] [lecture section] [this page]
    [Top of this page]