|dc.description.abstract||This research project focuses on Accounting education at tertiary level. There is limited
understanding of students' experiences of learning Accounting in higher education
institutions. Furthermore, Accounting is generally perceived as a difficult discipline,
especially for novice first-year, non-major Accounting students.
In this research study the purpose and focus were to explore first-year, non-major Accounting
students' experiences when learning Accounting. The study attempts to answer two key
research questions pertaining to first-year, non-major Accounting students' experiences when
learning Accounting, and to show how their experiences influence their learning of
Accounting. The study was conducted at a private higher education institution in South
Africa where first-year Accounting is a compulsory element of an undergraduate commerce
degree. The research participants sampled for this study were six first-year, non-major
Accounting students, some of whom were novice Accounting students while others had
studied Accounting in high school up to Grade 12.
A qualitative research methodology was adopted to generate data using an interpretive case
study approach. Research methods included semi-structured interviews and participant
reflective journals. Data were analysed using open coding, and the findings categorised
according to themes. Some of the key findings of this study revealed that students'
experiences were influenced by teacher/lecturer qualities, students' perceptions and
preconceptions of Accounting as a discipline, and the abstract nature of the Accounting
discipline and its discourse. Other factors influencing students' learning experiences included
their agency, resilience and determination, the effect of Accounting assessments, and ability
streaming. This study concludes with a discussion of recommendations based on the findings.
These point to the need for staff development workshops for Accounting lecturers, with an
emphasis on students' emotions and perceptions when learning Accounting, so that lecturers
are more aware of the extent of students' anxieties, insecurities and negative perceptions.
Other recommendations include more post-plenary workshops for first-year Accounting
students and development of different programmes for novice, non-major and Accounting
major students, since these cohorts of students have differing career Accounting competence