Authors: Rutter, L.
Start date: 17 March 2008
Personal epistemology is a complex and contested area (Schraw 2001) with a number of approaches (i.e. as beliefs, development models, resources). However, regardless of the various approaches, personal epistemology appears to consist of specific dimensions that comprise individual understanding of knowledge and knowing and which influence comprehension, cognitive processing, and conceptual change learning (Hofer 2004).
Students’ personal epistemology could be an important factor in their ability to engage with certain pedagogies in higher education (e.g. problem based learning, reflective learning) and their required levels of knowledge handling and production. There is evidence to suggest that epistemological views should be addressed in helping students cope with higher education (Kember 2001).
The workshop will consider the idea that personal epistemology can be: ‘…a lens to use in understanding students’ ideas and behaviour, in assessing students’ abilities and needs, and in adapting their plans and strategies for instruction.’ (Hammer and Elby 2002, p169)
However, the danger of pigeon-holing students is ever present! The workshop will therefore critically explore current thinking on personal epistemology and relate it to specific contexts and subject domains. We will look at how views on knowledge and knowing might impact on learning, and reflect on how increased understanding might allow improved methods of preparing and developing learners to deal with the constructed and complex nature of learning.