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Truly, Madly, Deeply… Approaches to Studying in Higher Education Students Eunice Simmons Nia Huws Nottingham Trent University, School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Science
ARES Background • 1949 became Nottingham Farm Institute then Nottinghamshire College of Agriculture • 1999 became part of NTU, offering a range of courses across land environmental sectors
Student Numbers School of ARES 2011 -12 School of ARES 2012 -13 UG 939 975 PGT&R 24 41 All HE 963 1, 016 FE 201 214 TOTAL 1, 164 1230
ARES Learner Demographics FE Enrolments are mostly within 20 miles HE Enrolments showing a wider spread
Example of Progression Animal and Equine Academic Area: • National Diplomas (FE) • Animal Management • Horse Management • Fd. Sc Degrees • Animal Studies • Sports Horse Management and Training • BSc Degrees • Animal Biology • Equine Sports Science
Background and Rationale • Learners from vocational backgrounds achieve lower degree outcomes (Huws and Taylor, 2009; Bailey and Bekhradnia, 2008) • Approaches to studying affect academic outcome (e. g. Diseth and Martinsen, 2004) • Exploring approaches to studying may provide some information about vocational learners’ transition to HE
ASSIST (Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students) Identifies : • approaches to learning: ▫ surface ▫ deep ▫ strategic • preferred teaching and learning methods: ▫ surface (transmitting information) ▫ deep (promoting understanding)
Previous Findings • Deep, strategic approaches associated with higher academic outcomes (e. g. Ward, 2011) • Surface apathetic approach linked with lower academic achievement • Sub factor ‘fear of failure’ linked to attrition (Entwistle et al , 2000)
Research Questions • Does learner background affect approach to studying? • Is this linked to effective transition to HE? • Can we identify ‘at risk’ learners? • Can we implement intervention strategies? ü confidence ü retention ü transition to independent learning • Can we also identify learners that could be challenged to achieve higher outcomes?
What we did…. • Questionnaire issued to 157 1 st Year students (72 vocational, 85 non -vocational) • Data analysis • Learner profiles established • Feedback provided to tutors
What we Found Learners from vocational backgrounds tend to adopt a more surface approach (p < 0. 01) Non-vocational 17 Vocational p < 0. 05 15 p < 0. 01 13 11 9 7 5 Lack of Purpose Unrelated Memorising Syllabus- Fear of Failure Boundness Surface Approach Sub-factors
Feedback to Tutors / Learners Dominant Approach to Studying Surface Apathetic Preferred T/ L Method Surface Name Surface Apathetic Surface Name Combined Name Fear of failure Comments High Tending to adopt a surface apathetic approach and show high fear of failure : likely to need support in making the High transition to HE and developing their confidence as independent learners. Average Mixed profiles: these learners may benefit from some support in making the transition to HE and developing High their confidence as independent learners. Name Combined Low Name Deep Strategic Combined Average Name Deep Strategic Deep Combined / mixed approaches. These learners should cope with the transition to HE but could be encouraged to develop a more deep, strategic approach. No issues identified, these learners should cope well with the transition to HE and could be challenged in their Average performance targets.
Implications • Other factors: ▫ attendance / engagement ▫ academic outcome • Intervention for ‘at risk’ learners: ▫ formal vs. informal ▫ tutor vs. wider academic support ▫ compulsory vs. voluntary