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Collaborative production of pedagogical knowledge: enhancing students' learning

Journal article
Authors Airi Rovio-Johansson
Marie Lumsden
Published in Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 72-83
ISSN 1758-1184
Publication year 2012
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Department of Business Administration, Accounting
Pages 72-83
Language en
Keywords Basic economic relationships, Business programme, Business studies, Higher education, Learning processes, Lectures, Students, Students’ learning outcomes, Sweden, Variation theory
Subject categories Pedagogy


The purpose of this paper is to investigate students’ qualitatively different ways of understanding basic economic relationships in three undergraduate courses in the discipline of accounting. The theoretical frame is variation theory, which is a learning theory about the different ways students understand the learning object (in this study, basic economic relationships). The instructors chose a learning object which was investigated under two different teaching conditions – the traditional lecture model and the adjusted Learning Study model. Two student groups in a Business Programme (one group admitted the year after the first group) were identified as a comparison group and a target group. The two groups were comparable in various relevant parameters. All students took three required accounting courses. In the comparison group, the instructors used the traditional lecture model; in the target group, the instructors used the adjusted Learning Study model. The first year of the study was used for training the instructors and for the preparation of teaching prerequisites. There were significant differences between the two groups’ examination results in the three courses. Students in the adjusted Learning Study model group performed better. The conclusions have scientific implications for students’ understanding of the subject and educational implications for teaching in terms of new teaching methods and revised curricula. The findings are valuable to professional instructors/lecturers in higher education. The findings and methods of this study contribute to the international research on empirically based didactic knowledge of subject content in higher education. Even though the subject content is specific in the study, the methodology of variation theory is applicable to other disciplines.

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