Measuring Student Preferences for Stimulus-Response (Rote) Learning

Robert A. Peters, Raymond J. Higbea


The study developed and distributed a survey to measure students’ preference for stimulus-response learning.
The responses of undergraduate and graduate students suggest the desire to maximize grades fosters a strong
preference for instructors who tell students what they need to know and exam questions that incorporate terms
and keywords similar to those used in course materials. Although graduate students exhibit a strong partiality for
additional elements of stimulus-response learning, they are less likely than undergraduates to prefer courses in
which complex assignments are accompanied by step-by-step instructions and most of the required readings are
covered by lectures. They also are less prone to focus their exam preparation on items discussed in class. Given
the students’ predisposition to replicate information and problem solving strategies conveyed to them, the
development of creativity and critical thinking is dependent on students assuming greater responsibility for
learning. Instructional strategies for achieving the outcome are discussed.

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Journal of Education and Learning   ISSN 1927-5250 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5269 (Online)


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