A theoretical approach to understanding learners of statistics


Book: 
Journal of Statistics Education
Authors: 
Gordon, S.
Category: 
Volume: 
3(3)
Pages: 
Online
Year: 
1995
URL: 
http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/v3n3/gordon.html
Abstract: 

This paper provides examples of students' reflections on learning statistics. The Mathematics Learning Centre, where I teach, offers help to students experiencing difficulty with basic mathematics and statistics courses at the university. The excerpts are drawn from surveys or interviews of these and other students studying statistics at the University of Sydney. Activity theory, which is based on the work of Vygotsky, provides a helpful conceptual model for investigating learning at the university level. From the perspective of activity theory, learning is viewed as a mediated activity in a sociohistorical context. In particular, the way a student monitors and controls the ongoing cognitive activity depends on how that individual reflects on his or her efforts and evaluates success. In Semenov's words, " Thought must be seen as a cognitive activity that involves the whole person" (1978, p. 5). Students' interpretations of their learning tasks and the educational goals for their self-development are discussed within this theoretical framework.

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