I. Sekret

Dniprodzerzhinsk State Technical University (UKRAINE)
Students’ epistemological beliefs are proved to be one of the crucial factors which determines students’ attitude to learning as a process of gaining knowledge and skills, learners’ individual style, and learning outcomes. Taking into account the importance of the individual epistemology for learning, researchers from different countries pay special attention to the individual epistemology manifestation, factors which effect its development, and changes which may occur in a course of learning (D. Hammer, A. Pena, O. Paco, C. Peralta, 2002; G. Ball, 2003; A. Elby, 2003; V. Petrushenko, 2003; A. Conley, P. Pintrich, I. Vekiri, D. Harrison, 2004; A. Gofron, 2005; D. Colbeck, 2007; I. Sekret, 2008, 2011).

The current research is inspired by the topicality of the problem in a view of a further development of the student-centered learning enhanced by informational technologies. Understanding individual epistemology contributes to elaborating more sophisticated techniques addressed to learners’ special needs and learning styles.
The problem becomes more urgent when it comes to the implementation of the distant forms of education when learning and communication lack eye-to-eye interaction and are mediated by informational technologies and Internet. In such a situation knowing individual epistemology helps to overcome psychological barriers in learning and communication, work out time-consuming learning technologies, implement them and reach better results in learning.

Due to the topicality defined, the paper focuses upon the study of the Ukrainian university students’ epistemological beliefs. It presents the results of the empirical research of the Ukrainian students’ epistemology and how it is effected by the higher education. To achieve the aim of the research the first year students and graduates from Dniprodzerzhinsk state technical university were invited to participate in the experiment and fill in some questionnaires. The total number of the students questioned is 384 students. The methods used in the research are questionnaires elaborated by A. M. Conley, P. R. Pintrich, I. Vekiri, D. Harrison (2004) and D. Colbeck (2007).

The conducted research helped to obtain the data which demonstrated a shift in the development of some clusters in the structure of the students’ epistemology in the end of the study at the university as compared with the results which were showed by the first year students. The difference in the data was statistically analyzed, and that proved the reliability of the results obtained.