This paper aims to report on an investigation to understand factors influencing students learning approaches in the discipline of auditing.
By using the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students research instrument the learning approaches of students in auditing at a South African residential university were measured on both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This was followed by focus group discussions to obtain a deeper understanding of the factors that influenced the ways their audit studies were approached.
The results revealed a contrasting view with that presented in the literature, in that senior students were more inclined to adopt a surface approach. This could be attributed to learning environment dimensions such as the teaching and assessment practices as well as students’ perceptions of the workload. Further statistical analysis revealed that gender and race influenced students’ learning approaches at specific levels.
The data are drawn from audit students at a residential university in South Africa; the findings of the study may thus not be generalisable beyond that context.
The study extends the existing student learning literature by adding perspectives from the discipline auditing. It could stimulate educators’ scholarly interest in pedagogic research which could contribute to curriculum and teaching method changes that equip audit educators to promote deep learning.