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Occupational Therapy International
Volume 2018, Article ID 3439815, 8 pages
Research Article

Deep, Surface, or Both? A Study of Occupational Therapy Students’ Learning Concepts

1Department of Occupational Therapy, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Faculty of Health Sciences, OsloMet-Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
2Faculty of Health Studies, VID Specialized University, Sandnes, Norway

Correspondence should be addressed to Tore Bonsaksen; on.aoih@neskasnob.erot

Received 5 March 2018; Accepted 6 June 2018; Published 7 August 2018

Academic Editor: Jodie A. Copley

Copyright © 2018 Tore Bonsaksen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Students’ conceptualization of learning has been associated with their approaches to studying. However, whether students’ learning concepts are associated with their personal characteristics is unknown. Aim. To investigate whether sociodemographic, education-related, and personal factors were associated with the learning concepts of Norwegian occupational therapy students. Methods. One hundred and forty-nine students (mean age 23.9 years, 79.2% women) participated in the study. The employed self-report questionnaires included the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Differences between student cohorts were analyzed with one-way analyses of variance and 2 tests, whereas factors associated with the students’ learning concepts were analyzed with bivariate correlation and linear regression models. Results. The students’ mean scores on the deep and surface learning concept scales were similar. Spending more time on the independent study was associated with having higher scores on the unidimensional learning concept measure. Conclusions. The students’ learning concept appears to encompass a surface concept as well as a deep concept of learning, and the two ways of conceptualizing learning were positively related to each other. Over time, a mature deep concept may add to, rather than replace, a basic surface concept of learning.