University student profiles in the learning to learn competence and their relationship with academic achievement

Perfiles de estudiantes universitarios en la competencia aprender a aprender y su relación con el rendimiento académico

Bernardo Gargallo-López, Gonzalo Almerich-Cerveró, Fran-J. García-García, Inmaculada López-Francés, & Piedad-M.ª Sahuquillo-Mateo


Learning to learn (LtL) is a key competence that the European Commission has identified for education systems (Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for life-long learning and Council Recommendation of 22 May 2018 on key competences for lifelong learning). It is usually assumed that students will already handle it well when they start university and that their use of it will improve during their university studies, but this assumption needs testing. The aim of this article is to establish the level of management of this competence as well as possible profiles of how university students use it and their relationship to academic achievement. To this end, we worked with a sample of 1,234 students from three universities in Valencia (Spain) in different study years and study areas, applying the QELtLCUS questionnaire, which evaluates the competence. We performed descriptive analyses, cluster analysis, analyses of differences, and multiple linear regression analyses. The sample subjects displayed an acceptable level of management, albeit with low scores in some important dimensions of LtL. We found two groups with two management profiles: one with a high competence level and another with a lower competence level. The students in the first group had better scores than those in the second group, with statistically significant results. We also found differences that were not statistically significant by gender, with a hig er level of competence in women, with those relating to year and study area being larger. We believe that this research provides relevant data that may be of interest to researchers. It also includes guidance to help teachers work on this competence in university studies.

Please, cite this article as follows: Gargallo-López, B., Almerich-Cerveró, G., García-García, F. J., López-Francés, I., & Sahuquillo-Mateo, P. M.ª (2023). Perfiles de estudiantes universitarios en la competencia aprender a aprender y su relación con el rendimiento académico [University student profiles in the learning to learn competence and their relationship with academic achievement]. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 81 (286), 457-487.



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Bernardo  Gargallo-López  is  a Professor of Theory of Education at the Universidad de Valencia. First National Prize for Educational Research in 2000 and 2002. His current line of research and the competitive projects he has directed centre on teaching and learning in the university setting. He runs the GIPEA group.

Gonzalo Almerich-Cerveró is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Research Methods at the Universidad de Valencia. His research centres on the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in education, 21st-century competences, the learning processes of students, educational measurement, and educational research methodology.

Fran-J. García-García is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theory of Education, Universidad de Valencia. He won the Special Master’s Prize in Special Education. His most recent works cover online learning, university pedagogy, and higher-education students’ learning.

Inmaculada López-Francés has a doctorate in education from the Universidad de Valencia and is an Associate Professor. Licentiate Degree and Doctoral prizes from the Universidad de Valencia. Her lines of research include sexual, affective, identity, and gender diversity and university pedagogy.

Piedad-M.ª Sahuquillo-Mateo has a doctorate in Education from the Universidad de Valencia and is an Associate Professor of Theory of Education. Her research interests centre on the family and the minor and on university pedagogy.

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