Understanding different types of destructive friction

Look at the two quotations below from students who were interviewed about their experiences of tutorials for the study reported in Ashwin (2005). They both show evidence of students experiencing a form of ‘destructive friction’ with their learning environment, because the students express dissatisfaction with the way in which it is supporting their learning.

How would you describe the differences between the kinds of dissatisfaction that the students are experiencing?

What do you think are the causes of their dissatisfaction?

If you were tutoring these students, how would you seek to improve their experiences and the quality of their learning?

‘Some tutors, their tutorials are like a lecture, you come away with very organized notes, adding a lot to the information you didn’t know before, which is very useful. Other times you leave the tutorial not feeling like you’ve gained a lot from it because some tutors will discuss ideas. Very often those ideas I haven’t written about I won’t remember, which means the tutorial isn’t perhaps as useful as it could be … I like dealing with facts whereas other people will write about how this is possibly true because of all these theories and possibilities and so on, and I need the anchoring of facts, whereas other people don’t seem to need them as much.’ (Humanities student)

‘The tutorials I had at the beginning of this term were wonderful but I’ve found progressively that you feel like you are doing it just to learn facts and to reinforce your lectures. It would be nice if you could explore something different rather than this fact after fact after fact after fact … Maybe your tutor could email you saying “I recommend you read this journal which has just come out and states that this guy had this theory” and you could say whether you agreed with it or disagreed and why, and what other questions would stem from it, because a question always breeds a question. I think it would be more interesting, would motivate me more and inspire me more, whereas this just gets you bogged down and there’s not much you can get excited about.’ (Medical Sciences student)