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Title: Students' attitudes towards learning communication skills in a further education context
Author: Corrigan, Sinead
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 8814
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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Communication skills play a paramount role in the personal and professional life of every individual. They have thus increased in importance in today's technologically and knowledge-based world. The purpose of this study is to explore the attitudes of Further Education and Training (FET) students towards learning communication skills in a Further Education and Training Accreditation Certificate (FETAC) level 5 module. This study is the first of its kind to be carried out In an Irish FET context. It attempts to provide a better understanding of students' altitudes and the experiences of this module, which may illuminate strategies (or effective teaching and learning for students, tutors, curriculum developers and policy makers alike. To answer the research questions posed, a sequential mixed-methods designs was employed. Data was collected from students in one small FET college over the academic year 2012-2013. Rees, Sheard and Davls' (2002) communication skills attitude survey (CSAS) was adapted and used as an exploratory tool to help generate questions for the qualitative phase of the study. The rationale for using both quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (focus group) methods was to better understand the research problem; it allowed for convergence of the numeric data and the detail of the qualitative research. The complexity of this topic called for the application of two models which acted as the frameworks for this investigation. Derbyshire and colleagues' (2009) evolving model for adult literacy and Keller's (1987) ARCS (attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction) model for Instructional design. Two key labels emerged from the data: internal and environmental factors. The data showed that a number of challenges exist for students when learning communication skills. Students were slightly more negative in their attitude at the end of the module, which was consistent with the findings from other studies exploring the same topic (Rees and Sheard, 2003; Anvik et al., 2008; Fazel and Agamolael, 2011). This study may prove beneficial for tutors, curriculum developers and policy makers in the wider educational context on how to effectively tailor and promote the teaching and learning of communication skills to meet the ever-increasing needs of students in a Further Education and Training context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available