oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - Using phenomenological psychology to analyse distance education students' experiences and conceptions of learning



Studies on learning have tended to endorse the importance of knowledge rather than the significance of the cultural contexts embedded in the different histories and biographies of learners. In order to investigate the relationship between these contexts and students' conceptions of learning, this study focuses on South African distance students' accounts of their personal experience and understanding of learning, using Giorgi's phenomenological psychology method to explore the learners' histories and aspirations as they construct and negotiate the meaning they attach to learning. The findings indicate that the social environment, the culture, the political milieu and economic conditions are the most important determinants of conceptions of learning, with all these multiple contexts interacting to influence students' beliefs about learning, which in turn affect their approach to learning and hence their learning outcomes. It is thus argued that, in order to facilitate distance learning, the lifeworld of the learner needs to be both understood and brought to bear on the educational process.


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