L. Grácio, E. Chaleta, J. Silva, F. Leal, A. Sampaio

Universidade de Évora (PORTUGAL)
The investigation on individual differences in higher education learning is relatively recent. However it has been demonstrated that there are qualitative variation among students in the conceptualization, process and outcomes of learning in general and across different learning situations and tasks (e.g., Richardson, 1983; Booth & Anderberg, 2005).
It was found that the conceptions of learning influence how students approach learning and the quality of learning outcomes. It was established a link between the student conceptions of learning, the level of processing used and the understanding reached (e.g., Marton et al. 1993, Entwistle, 2009).

Students present different ways to conceptualize and experience learning (e.g., Marton & Säljö, 1997; Marton, Dall’Alba & Beaty, 1993). That has also been confirmed by portuguese researches (e.g., Grácio 2002, Rosário et al., 2007). The different conceptions of learning are classified in two large groups (Marton & Saljo, 1976a; 1976b). A first group concerning superficial conceptions of learning (increase of knowledge, memorization and application). These three conceptions share a view of knowledge as something external, emphasizing the storage and reproduction of information and implying low level of cognitive processing.

A second group concerns transformational or deep conceptions of learning (understanding, seeing something differently and changing as a person) and emphasizes the assignment of meaning and the transformation of the information, indicating complex cognitive processing.

The research findings in this field were obtained through the use of qualitative methodologies and mainly in a phenomenography perspective (Marton & Pong, 2005). However, in 2002 Purdie and Hattie presented a questionnaire to assess student’s conceptions of learning (COLI – Conceptions of Learning Inventory). In this work we present the COLI adaptation and validation for the portuguese higher education population through its application to 872 students.