Dr Louise Ainscough

Lecturer

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
l.ainscough@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53119

Overview

As a teaching-focused academic, Louise Ainscough is passionate about education research, and how it can be applied to encourage the development of her students as learners, citizens and healthcare professionals. She teaches physiology and histology to a range of healthcare professional students, including occupational therapy, pharmacy, dentistry, physiotherapy, speech pathology, health science and medicine. Louise draws on her expertise in the scholarship of teaching and learning to develop curricula and assessment that is both evidence-based and rigorously evaluated. She has received funding through both UQ New Staff and Early Career research grants for projects in self-regulated learning and the related field of self-efficacy. She is also actively involved in supervising undergraduate research and Honours students, including mentoring these students in educational research methodologies and academic writing. Louise takes immense pleasure in guiding students in their development as learners, both on an individual basis and in large undergraduate classes. Louise is renowned for making learning fun. She takes the fear out of learning science, and encourages students to find their own voice as learners and future healthcare professionals.

Research Interests

  • Self-regulated learning
    Self-regulated learning consists of the thoughts, feeling and actions that students utilise in order to achieve a learning goal. Self-regulated learners plan, set goals, choose appropriate study activities and reflect on past performance to maximise their learning. Our research team has developed 'meta-learning tasks' to help students reflect on their learning and study strategies. Recently, we have also developed online collaborative meta-learning tasks, where students share their strategies for learning through a group blog. The majority of our students report that the meta-learning tasks have a positive impact on their learning. Our research team is also analysing the student responses to meta-learning task to learn more about how students regulate their learning and how this correlates with their academic achievement, resilience, and understanding of complex concepts.
  • Developing biology self efficacy
    Self-efficacy is the strength of one’s belief in their ability to perform a given task or achieve a certain outcome. Self-efficacy falls between knowledge and action. An individual may have the skills to perform a task; however, a lack of confidence regarding ability can decrease performance or result in task avoidance. Academic self-efficacy has been correlated with both academic performance and persistence with study. Our research has shown that biology self-efficacy in first year students increases while students undertake a large biology course. Prior high school biology and chemistry experience increase self-efficacy at the beginning of semester, but do not predict self-efficacy at the end of semester. Interestingly, male students in our study were more self-efficacious than female students at both the beginning and end of semester. Some students also reported inaccurate self-efficacy beliefs - feeling over-confident or under-confident in their ability. These inaccurate self-efficacy beliefs may impact on study efforts, resilience and academic grades. Interventions to help students calibrate their self-efficacy beliefs may therefore be useful.
  • Authentic assessment
    The perceived relevance of a course to a student’s career is an important factor affecting student motivation. One method for enhancing the relevance of a course is to introduce authentic assessment. An assessment task is considered to be authentic if it requires skills that would be performed in the workplace or community and results in the creation of a product that has value beyond the classroom. I have recently completed two projects that evaluate new authentic assessment items. The first project investigates whether an information sheet assignment is an effective and authentic means to improve the perceived relevance of physiology to occupational therapy. The second project investigates an online role play activity where nursing students demonstrate their understanding of pathophysiology through dialogue with a doctor and a patient. This authentic assessment item is designed to test understanding of pathophysiology as well as developing communication skills required within the nursing workplace.

Qualifications

  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Queensland University of Technology
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours), Queensland University of Technology
  • Bachelor of Applied Sciences, Queensland University of Technology
  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Available Projects

  • Available for honours and undergraduate research students

    Self-regulated learning broadly encompasses the thoughts, feelings and actions that occur when students engage in a learning task. Self-regulated learning provides an educational framework for understanding how students can take ownership of their learning and make improvements to learning as they progress through life.

    In conjunction with my collaborators, I can offer a broad range of research projects involving self-regulated learning. Past projects have focused on study strategies, academic resilience, difficult concepts in physiology, and self-efficacy.

  • Available for honours and undergraduate research students

    The project involves an intervention study using blackboard social media to encourage undergraduate students to explore and use new learning strategies. During this intervention, students have the opporunity to learn about new strategies from their peers. Available research projects involve evaluating the effectiveness of the intervention study.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Available for honours and undergraduate research students

    Self-regulated learning broadly encompasses the thoughts, feelings and actions that occur when students engage in a learning task. Self-regulated learning provides an educational framework for understanding how students can take ownership of their learning and make improvements to learning as they progress through life.

    In conjunction with my collaborators, I can offer a broad range of research projects involving self-regulated learning. Past projects have focused on study strategies, academic resilience, difficult concepts in physiology, and self-efficacy.

  • Available for honours and undergraduate research students

    The project involves an intervention study using blackboard social media to encourage undergraduate students to explore and use new learning strategies. During this intervention, students have the opporunity to learn about new strategies from their peers. Available research projects involve evaluating the effectiveness of the intervention study.