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Students’ Knowledge Progression: Sustainable Learning in Higher Education

Journal article
Authors Airi Rovio-Johansson
Published in International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Volume 28
Issue 3
Pages 427-439
ISSN 1812-9129
Publication year 2016
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Pages 427-439
Language en
Keywords phenomenographic study, knowledge progression, sustainable learning
Subject categories Pedagogy, Learning, Didactics, Educational Sciences


The purpose of this phenomenographic study is to examine students’ knowledge progression in a three-year Bachelor programme in Business Administration. Theoretical sampling was used to select nine students from a group of 200 university students admitted to the programme. The students were interviewed on three occasions: Year 1, after their Management Accounting course; Year 2, after their Financial Accounting course; and Year 3, after they had written their thesis. The interviews focused on the same financial concept presented in various ways, with increasing complexity, in each of the three years. This longitudinal study analyses the students’ knowledge progress in terms of sustainable learning. The findings reveal that knowledge progression was very good by the end the programme for one-half of the students; one-third of the students did not achieve satisfactory knowledge progression. The study’s research methods and its findings contribute to education and international studies on students’ sustainable learning in higher education. The study suggests a model for future research in ascertaining how higher education students learn as well as in examining issues and areas for further research and development.

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