Implementation intention and approach to study

Approach to study has been influential in framing thought about student learning in HE for over 25 years.  Deep learning results from an intention to understand a topic or subject, surface learning results from an intention to memorise material over the short term. Attempts to induce a deep approach by changing teaching and assessment can increase student engagement and deepen learning but are time intensive. An alternative is to directly influence approach to study through an implementation intention intervention (Gollwitzer, 1999).  Implementation intentions are thought to help overcome the intention-behaviour gap by making concrete when, where and how the behaviour will be achieved and significantly increases goal achievement in health contexts. In HE Sheeran, Webb and Gollwitzer (2005) found that students who formed an implementation intention were more likely to study for the hours they said they would, while Webb, Christian & Armitage (2007) found that students who formed an implementation intention were significantly more likely to attend seminar sessions. An implementation intention intervention with 160 psychology undergraduates in the first four weeks in HE as part of a psychology transition programme was created aiming to influence students to adopt a deep approach to study. Results and implications will be discussed.


Pete Reddy

Presentation Date

12th June 2009 and
17th September 2009

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