Journal article

The centre cannot hold: untangling two different trajectories of the 'approaches to learning' framework

The deep/surface approach to learning' framework is widely used in higher education. Its perceived strength is that it is regarded as having two functions: both being (1) a useful metaphor for development of teaching and learning in higher education and (2) a valid concept for researchers. In this paper, I present a critical review of the model. I argue that an oversimplified conceptual framework, empirical weaknesses, and a relative lack of conceptual development can all be seen as a function of the attempt to meet both these divergent goals. The dominance of the model in the teaching and learning in higher education literature may also have prevented the development of alternative, more useful frameworks for understanding learning in higher education, such as that of expert competence'.


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