Identifying Taiwanese University students’ physics learning profiles and their role in physics learning self-efficacy

Tzung Jin Lin*, Jyh Chong Liang, Chin Chung Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The main purposes of this study were to identify Taiwanese university students’ physics learning profiles in terms of their critical conceptions of learning physics and to compare their physics learning self-efficacy with the different learning profiles. A total of 250 Taiwanese undergraduates who were majoring in physics participated in this study and were invited to complete two instruments, physics learning profile and physics learning self-efficacy (PLSE). The main results indicated that, first, the two instruments developed in this study had satisfactory validity and reliability. Second, three fundamental physics learning profiles, the reproductive, transitional, and constructive profiles, were characterized based on the cluster analysis. It is also evident that the three learning profiles demonstrated different levels of selfefficacy for the five PLSE dimensions. The students with a reproductive profile tended to possess the lowest PLSE across the five dimensions. The students with a transitional profile may possess higher confidence in higher-order cognitive skills and laboratory activities than those with a reproductive profile. However, only those with a constructive profile, highlighting a comprehensive understanding of physics knowledge/concepts as well as de-emphasizing physics learning as preparing for tests and calculating and practising tutorial problems, possessed stronger PLSE in applying what they learned to real-world contexts as well as in scientifically communicating with others.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA006
Pages (from-to)605-624
Number of pages20
JournalResearch in Science Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptions of learning
  • Higher education
  • Physics
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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