Effect of Students’ Perception of Workload on the Quality of Learning in Tertiary Education: A Case Study

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Ask lecturers what approach they want students to adopt, and generally they will state that ideally students should adopt a deep approach to learning where they understand, and can apply, what they are studying. This presentation considers how students’ perceptions of a heavy workload can interfere with this goal, where workload is defined as the out of class study students engage in. It is shown how assessment and an over-stuffed curriculum can also interfere with the goal of encouraging a deep approach to learning. A number of factors are explored which influence students’ perception of their workload and it is argued that if lecturers are aiming to achieve quality learning outcomes and student persistence, it is desirable to find out how students perceive their workload and the effect this has on their approach to learning. Ideally, we want students’ perceptions to change to “My workload is manageable and I have time to understand what I’m studying.”


Keywords: Student’s Perception of Workload, Tertiary Education, Quality Learning
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Effect of Students’ Perception of Workload on the Quality of Learning in Higher Education


Laraine Giles

Senior Lecturer Communications, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Eastern Institute of Technology
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

I am an experienced educator working in the field for the past 30 years at all levels: primary, secondary (Mathematics, Statistics and Computing), education consultancy in the private training industry, and tertiary. I have spent the past 10 years lecturing in business communication at degree level. I am interested in using educational theory to guide practice. I have a Masters Degree in Education and my thesis involved the effect of motivation on learning at the teriary level. The presentation for this conference is related to the research I carried out for my Doctor of Education degree involving a survey of students followed by in-depth interviews. This was done through Massey University.

Ref: L09P0488