Do sophisticated epistemic beliefs predict meaningful learning? Findings from a structural equation model of undergraduate biology learning

Silvia Wen Yu Lee, Jyh Chong Liang, Chin Chung Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated the relationships among college students’ epistemic beliefs in biology (EBB), conceptions of learning biology (COLB), and strategies of learning biology (SLB). EBB includes four dimensions, namely ‘multiple-source,’ ‘uncertainty,’ ‘development,’ and ‘justification.’ COLB is further divided into ‘constructivist’ and ‘reproductive’ conceptions, while SLB represents deep strategies and surface learning strategies. Questionnaire responses were gathered from 303 college students. The results of the confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling showed acceptable model fits. Mediation testing further revealed two paths with complete mediation. In sum, students’ epistemic beliefs of ‘uncertainty’ and ‘justification’ in biology were statistically significant in explaining the constructivist and reproductive COLB, respectively; and ‘uncertainty’ was statistically significant in explaining the deep SLB as well. The results of mediation testing further revealed that ‘uncertainty’ predicted surface strategies through the mediation of ‘reproductive’ conceptions; and the relationship between ‘justification’ and deep strategies was mediated by ‘constructivist’ COLB. This study provides evidence for the essential roles some epistemic beliefs play in predicting students’ learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2327-2345
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume38
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 12
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • biology learning
  • conception of learning
  • Epistemic belief
  • learning strategy
  • undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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