Although considerable research has examined beliefs and learning outcomes (e.g. Schommer, 1990, 1993a, 1993b; Schommer & Dunnell, 1997), little has looked at the relationship between beliefs and the actual learning process.
This research examines the relationship between beliefs about learning and knowledge, and reports of learning strategy-use relevant for successful text comprehension.
Participants were 81 Norwegian university students who had studied from 1 to 4 years in a range of disciplines.
Students' beliefs about knowledge and learning were measured with the Schommer Epistemological Questionnaire (SEQ; Schommer, 1998b). Learning strategies particularly useful for text-based learning were measured with the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ; Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1991). A correlational analysis between measures and full regression analyses of how beliefs influence strategy selection were performed.
Beliefs about how thoroughly knowledge is integrated in networks (simple) and how fixed the ability to learn is from birth (fixed) contributed significantly to reported strategy use: Simple to rehearsal and organizational strategies, fixed to elaboration and critical thinking strategies, and a combination of simple and fixed to strategies relevant to the thoughtful monitoring of learning tasks. Beliefs about how certain knowledge is (certain) and how quickly learning can be expected to occur (quick) were not found to contribute to reported learning- strategy use in any significant way.
Some, but not all, beliefs about knowledge and learning offer insight into students' reported use of learning strategies relevant for reading course literature.