'Learning Development' is an emergent, but increasingly recognised field of practice in higher education in the UK. Those who identify with the term are principally involved in areas of work focussing on student learning, working directly with students and in a consultative capacity with other HE staff. This work has also been termed 'learning support' or 'study skills'. The main aim of LD work is the empowerment of students typically through the enhancement of students' academic practices, such as skills for research; communication; self-awareness; and critical thinking; in order that they may benefit as fully as possible from their experiences of, and life beyond, higher education.
Have you considered withdrawing at any point during your first year?
P lease tell us what made you consider leaving .
What has helped you decide to stay on your course?
Student Transition Survey (March – May 2009) NTU BU Sample Size 656 89 % doubters 37% 45% % male doubters 31% 36% % female doubters 41% 50% Age Slight rise as students age More doubts among younger students Disability 50% 60% Part time 43% 0%
Progression NTU BU Sample size 370 52 % withdrawal from this sample 4.3% 3.8% % withdrawal among doubters 8.8% 4.3% % withdrawal among non-doubters 1.7% 3.4%
Since coming to university has anyone at NTU explained to you the difference between learning at university and your prior learning, particularly learning since age 16 (e.g. A’ Levels, BTEC)?
Do you feel that you understand the differences between learning at university and earlier learning? % of students in each group who had considered leaving Yes, in some detail 30% Yes, a little 38% No 62%
Current Course Experiences: Doubters vs. non-doubters (NTU)
% is the number of students who agreed or strongly agreed with each statement
4 focus groups (1 hour workshops, 13 students in total)
Control group of non-doubters
Selection of doubters
STEM subject doubters
Mature student doubters
All students that we spoke to were female.
Of the doubters we spoke to, four students were mature students, one student was a mature international student, one student was an international student and one student was a home student with English as a second language.
This is not representational of the profile of the total respondents.
All of the students who had never had doubts could all describe the time when they felt that they belonged to the university
“ I think it starts when you walk down the street and you see someone and you go hey … I know them from University and that’s what made me feel like it [like I belonged]”.
“ The more people you know through other clubs and stuff the more you feel part of the University”.
“ The second term is when I started to feel more at home because in the first term you are always referred to as a fresher and 2nd term you are a first year student…I’ve got more friends, more like friendships, rather than just knowing lots of people”
BARNETT, R., 2007. A will to learn: being a student in an age of uncertainty . Maidenhead: Open University Press.
HARVEY, L., DREW, S. with SMITH, M., 2006. The first year experience: a literature review for the Higher Education Academy . York: HE Academy.
LEARNHIGHER, 2010. Funding for Learning Resource Development April 2009 Grant Scheme Publicity [online]. Liverpool Hope University: LearnHigher. Available at: http://www.learnhigher.ac.uk/funding.htm [Accessed 24 March 2010].
NAO (National Audit Office), 2007. Staying the course: the retention of students in higher education . London: The Stationary Office.