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Interpreting student workload and the factors which shape students' perceptions of their workload


Kember, D, Interpreting student workload and the factors which shape students' perceptions of their workload, Studies in Higher Education, 29, (2) pp. 165-184. ISSN 0307-5079 (2004) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2004 Society for Research into Higher Education

DOI: doi:10.1080/0307507042000190778


This article examines the nature of student workload and how perceptions of it are formed. Inferences are drawn from five detailed case studies, taken from a wider sample of university students who completed an hourly diary for one week. A subsample was also interviewed. Perceptions of workload are not synonymous with time spent studying, but can be weakly influenced by them. There are both class effects from contextual variables and individual differences within a class. Perceptions of workload are influenced by content, difficulty, type of assessment, teacher–student and student–student relationships. Workload and surface approaches to learning are interrelated, in what appears to be a complex reciprocal relationship. It is possible to inspire students to work long hours towards high quality learning outcomes if attention is paid to teaching approaches, assessment and curriculum design in the broadest sense. It is, therefore, important to have open evaluation systems which gather feedback on a wide array of curriculum variables.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Curriculum and pedagogy not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Kember, D (Professor David Kember)
ID Code:129965
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:93
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2019-01-02
Last Modified:2019-05-02

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