Undergraduate students’ earth science learning: relationships among conceptions, approaches, and learning self-efficacy in Taiwan

Kuan Ming Shen, Min Hsien Lee, Chin Chung Tsai, Chun Yen Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


In the area of science education research, studies have attempted to investigate conceptions of learning, approaches to learning, and self-efficacy, mainly focusing on science in general or on specific subjects such as biology, physics, and chemistry. However, few empirical studies have probed students’ earth science learning. This study aimed to explore the relationships among undergraduates’ conceptions of, approaches to, and self-efficacy for learning earth science by adopting the structural equation modeling technique. A total of 268 Taiwanese undergraduates (144 females) participated in this study. Three instruments were modified to assess the students’ conceptions of, approaches to, and self-efficacy for learning earth science. The results indicated that students’ conceptions of learning made a significant contribution to their approaches to learning, which were consequently correlated with their learning self-efficacy. More specifically, students with stronger agreement that learning earth science involves applying the knowledge and skills learned to unknown problems were prone to possess higher confidence in learning earth science. Moreover, students viewing earth science learning as understanding earth science knowledge were more likely to adopt meaningful strategies to learn earth science, and hence expressed a higher sense of self-efficacy. Based on the results, practical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1527-1547
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 12



  • Conceptions of learning earth science
  • approaches to learning earth science
  • self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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