Conceptions of learning versus conceptions of web-based learning: The differences revealed by college students

Chin Chung Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Past research has shown the variations of students' conceptions of learning, but little has been especially undertaken to address students' conceptions of web-based learning and to make comparisons between students' conceptions of learning in general and their conceptions of web-based learning in particular. By interviewing 83 Taiwanese college students with some web-based learning experiences, this study attempted to investigate the students' conceptions of learning, conceptions of web-based learning, and the differences between these conceptions. Using the phenomenographic method of analyzing student interview transcripts, several categories of conceptions of learning and of web-based learning were revealed. The analyses of interview results suggested that the conceptions of web-based learning were often more sophisticated than those of learning. For example, much more students conceptualized learning in web-based context as pursuing real understanding and seeing in a new way than those for learning in general. This implies that the implementation of web-based instruction may be a potential avenue for promoting students' conceptions of learning. By gathering questionnaire responses from the students, this study further found that the sophistication of the conceptions toward web-based learning was associated with better searching strategies as well as higher self-efficacy for web-based learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1103
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Distance education and telelearning
  • Post-secondary education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education


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