Discipline social identification, study norms and learning approach in university students

Lillian Smyth, Kenneth I. Mavor, Michael J. Platow, Diana GRACE, Katherine J. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Adopting a deep approach to learning is associated with positive academic outcomes. In the current paper, we extend this analysis in a university context by recognising that learners are not isolated individuals, but share important social identifications with others. Using online surveys at an Australian university, we examine the effects of discipline social identification and educational norms on the adoption of learning approaches. Students from a range of academic disciplines indicated their social identification with their discipline, their perceptions of peer norms within their discipline of study, and what their own learning approaches were. Results demonstrate a significant role of discipline-related social identification in predicting learning approaches, even after controlling for personal factors and quality of teaching. Moreover, perceived norms moderated this effect. Students’ approaches to learning are affected not simply by their salient self-concepts, but by their salient discipline-related self-concepts and the norms embodied in the learning environment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-72
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


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