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Teacher and student perceptions of the development of learner autonomy : a case study in the biological sciences

Scott, G. W.; Furnell, J.; Murphy, C. M.; Goulder, R.


J. Furnell

C. M. Murphy

R. Goulder


Biology teachers in a UK university expressed a majority view that student learning autonomy increases with progression through university. A minority suggested that pre-existing diversity in learning autonomy was more important and that individuals not cohorts differ in their learning autonomy. They suggested that personal experience prior to university and age were important and that mature students are more autonomous than 18-20 year olds. Our application of an autonomous learning scale (ALS) to four year-groups of biology students confirmed that the learning autonomy of students increases through their time at university but not that mature students are necessarily more autonomous than their younger peers. It was evident however that year of study explained relatively little (


Scott, G. W., Furnell, J., Murphy, C. M., & Goulder, R. (2015). Teacher and student perceptions of the development of learner autonomy : a case study in the biological sciences. Studies in higher education, 40(6), 945-956.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 28, 2013
Online Publication Date Jan 7, 2014
Publication Date Jul 3, 2015
Deposit Date Jun 8, 2015
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Studies in higher education
Print ISSN 0307-5079
Electronic ISSN 1470-174X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 6
Pages 945-956
Keywords Learner autonomy; Autonomous learning; Independent learning; Life-long learning; Biology teaching
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in higher education on 7th January 2014, available online: <a style="text-decoration: underline;" href="" target="_blank"></a>


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