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  1. Learner Development and Student Success Matthew Daley, Ellen Pope and Anne Wheeler

  2. About Aston • Aston Students91% state school 6.4% non-completion 60% ethnic minorities 82% graduates in employment 15% mature and LPN37% lower socio-economic groups

  3. Research of Widening Participation at Aston • HIGSON, H, JHA, S & LI, N. (2003) Research and design of programmes that attract and fulfil the needs of Britain’s ethnic groups. • THOMPSON, D. (2004) Improving the Achievement and Retention of Students from Low Participation Neighbourhoods. Final Year Report: Second Year Progression. Birmingham. Aston University. • ARYA, R. & SMITH, R. (2005) Living at Home. • HARTLEY, G. (2005) Re-analysis of data from Improving the Achievement and Retention of Students from Low Participation Neighbourhoods. • HARTLEY, G. (2006) Preparing for the future and reviewing the past: Improving the Achievement and Retention of Students from Low Participation Neighbourhoods.

  4. 2005/06 and the initial aims of the Learning Development Centre • Proposed that Aston University set up a centralised centre where students of all kinds from across the university can supplement their academic learning experience with a range of 1-1 and group learning support. • Three strands of policy and activities within the Centre: • Widening Participation • Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) • Learning and Teaching

  5. 2008/09 The decision in the Learning Development Centre to move to a positive developmental role • Aston 2012 • Learning and Teaching Strategy • Creation of Centre for Learning Innovation and Professional Practice (CLIPP) • Focusing on enabling students’ success in order to enhance their learning potential and improve retention • Working with academics and students

  6. Essential Conditions to Improve Institutional Student Retention and Success A Research-Informed Approach to Improving Institutional Retention Rob Jones, Liz Thomas and Helen May

  7. Aims of this research on the Learning Development Centre In 2009 we conducted a piece of evaluative research to discover and document the profile of those who use and do not use the Learning Development Centre (LDC) from both the student and teaching staff body. This work considered the reasons for student and staff use of the LDC and the impact the LDC it has on student learning and success. Explored the needs of academics and investigated how the LDC could become more integrated into the curriculum.

  8. LDC Services

  9. The LDC environment

  10. Improving student learning/success – what the lecturers say the LDC can do • There is already a lot of linkage but there could be more with input from the LDC to my module • The LDC could be more directly involved in the learning and teaching on my module. At the moment the LDC is probably only used for remedial support instead of value added. • ‘We are developing ways to embed academic study skills and writing into our fist-year sociology programme, and it would be useful if we could coordinate with the LDC in some way.’ • ‘I would like to see an integrated approach where especially 1st year students are taught the skills offered by the LDC. How does the curriculum fit in? What are the points where support is needed?’ • ‘LDC could be used to provide value added, rather than simply remedial support for students who are struggling. It would be nice to have a facility by which I could audit my course with a LDC member of staff to identify areas in which input from the LDC would be most valuable and effective.’ • ‘I had no idea this extent of services was available.’ • ‘allow the poor students to study’ • ‘In supporting struggling students’

  11. Has the LDC contributed to students’ personal development? • 201 respondents • 70% of respondents felt the LDC had contributed to their personal development • ‘I am now more confident in referencing and feel it has improved my essays overall’ • ‘I went to several workshops including presentation skills, academic writing and referencing. Really good refreshers after being on placement!’ • ‘Maths, Confidence, Concentration, Course understanding, people skills and effective note taking’ • ‘With the maths, it helped greatly to pass the module, and with the study skills it helped my general approach to learning.’ • ‘Critical thinking and writing. Understanding what approach should be taken to academic writing’ • ‘learn to work well individually, and as a group. meet new people and get work done in a good environment’ • CONFIDENCE!!!

  12. Aston University Annual Student Satisfaction Survey Results • The figures in the above table were taken from the Aston University student satisfaction - learning development centre Report December 2008 & 2009. • In 2009 came second place out of all departments/services for satisfaction. • In 2009 only 17% of respondents thought the LDC was not important compared with 23% in 2008

  13. Next steps and following up… • All teaching staff and student survey • Focus groups and 1-1 interviews with students • Math's snapshot day interviews • Appointment of E-learning developers • Introducing math's mentors • LDC input to the Aston Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice (compulsory for new academics) • Greater collaboration with schools of study and academics (LDC School Reps, funded projects showcasing LDC work) • Greater collaboration with students and student involvement in LDC activities • HEA Inclusivity Summit Programme

  14. References • BRUNKEN, A. & DELLY, P. 2009. Can Business Principles be Adapted to Higher Education to Improve the Provision of Study Support to Diverse Student Cohorts? International Journal of Learning, 16, 13-26. • KEMP, I. J. & SEAGRAVES, L. 1995. Transferable skills—Can higher education deliver? Studies in Higher Education, 20, 315 - 328. • HIGSON, H, JHA, S & LI, N. (2003) Research and design of programmes that attract and fulfil the needs of Britain’s ethnic groups. • THOMPSON, D. (2004) Improving the Achievement and Retention of Students from Low Participation Neighbourhoods. Final Year Report: Second Year Progression. Birmingham. Aston University. • ARYA, R. & SMITH, R. (2005) Living at Home. • HARTLEY, G. (2005) Re-analysis of data from Improving the Achievement and Retention of Students from LPNs. • HARTLEY, G. (2006) Preparing for the future and reviewing the past: Improving the Achievement and Retention of Students from Low Participation Neighbourhoods. • Jones, R, Thomas, L, & May, H. A Research-Informed Approach to Improving Institutional Retention

  15. Matthew Daley m.daley@aston.ac.uk Ellen Pope e.l.pope@aston.ac.uk Dr Anne Wheeler a.wheeler@aston.ac.uk