Learning Perspective

There are varieties of learning approaches students could adopt in their learning progress. According to Trigwell, Prosser & Waterhouse (1999), there are two main approaches learners usually adopt.

StudentsOne such learning approach is that of surface approach in which learners relies very much on memorising and reproducing of knowledge. Another is that of deep learning approach whereby learners actively seek out new knowledge, built on their prior knowledge and relate topics in question to real world context. For example, using the knowledge on Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats analysis (SWOT) taught, students learn to apply the SWOT concepts to either a given case company or to instill interest further, can even apply the SWOT concept in understanding themselves better. These learning approaches will be taught as part of Study Skills in the Research Unit in the Higher diploma of Business course.

To encourage learning, not only do learners play a part, educators do have an important role to play to encourage learners to instill interest in their learning. This involve a shift in the teaching approaches from that of instructional to that of collaborative learning.

Instructional based approach (Trigwell et al. 1999), involved mainly the transfer of knowledge from educators to learners ensuring that knowledge is reinforced so that students can pass their end of module assessment (Barr & Tagg, 1995). In this context, there is passive learning. While it serves both the learners and educators well in the short term with learners’ doing well in exam, knowledge retention tend to be short-lived since learning has not fully been internalized. On the other hand, the use of collaborative learning involves learners form small group to discuss and exchange knowledge. It essentially is learning through socialization process which facilitate peer learning (Johnson, Johnson and Smith, 1998).

Learning is life-long progress and if learning is motivated intrinsically with an interest to acquire new knowledge rather than being compel to do so by their parents or educators, not only will learners will be more enthusiastic but take on personal accountability in their learning (APA, 2007).

Raymond Loh Chee Yen
Principal Lecturer
School of Business and Law
TMC Academy


APA (1997). Learner-centered psychology principles: A framework for school reform and redesign.

Johnson, D. W.; Johnson, R. T.; Smith, K. A. (1998), Active Learning: Cooperation in the College Classroom, (2nd ed.); Interaction Book: Edina, MN.

Trigwll, K., Prosser, M., & Waterhouse, F. (1999). Relationship between teachers’ approach to teaching and students’ approaches to learning. Higher Education, 37, 57-70.