Publication Details

Lawson, R. J. (2011). Constructively aligned teaching methods and students' approaches to learning and motivational orientations. Global Journal of Human Social Science, 11 (8), 59-68.


Most studies have found that, at the contextual level (e.g. degree programme) approach to study is stable over time (e.g. Busato, Prins, Elshout and Hamaker, 1998). At the situational level (e.g. a module) the results are possibly less equivocal, with studies reporting a decrease in deep approach at the end of the module (e.g. Newstead, 1998). Fazey & Lawson (2000) conducted a study that was contingent upon the use of a teaching approach that consistently raises expectations that a deep approach to learning is required and uses an assessment methodology that will reward such an approach. They found that students taught using this constructively aligned methodology, maintained their deep approach to study and significantly decreased their surface approach at the assessment period of the module. In a follow up study Lawson, Fazey and Fazey (2006) further explored this concept in a variety of subjects, finding that modules classified as being strongly aligned and fostering deep approaches to learning, had students who scored significantly higher on deeper approaches to learning and intrinsic motivation than those in modules with low alignment that fostered a surface approach. This present study looks at changes over time in students approaches to learning and motivational orientation. The results show changes over time in these student factors, related to teaching approach and alignment.