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Title: Developing effective learners in higher education : a case study of different approaches to teaching learning skills in context and integrated with academic content
Author: O'Connor, Tamara
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 0479
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2006
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Students in higher education, specially first-year students often need help to become more independent and self-directed learners. Previous research has shown that students benefit from training in learning skills and strategies to improve effective learning. Therefore a project within an Irish university was established to teach learning skills in context, based on aspects of theory and research on self-regulated learning and student approaches to learning. This study looked at the process of implementing the project, using a qualitative case study approach and explored how teachers in four academic departments tried to integrate the teaching of learning skills with their subject content. Data was collected from a variety of sources. Ninety-nine students completed inventories on learning skills at the beginning of the year; a summary of this information w as provided to their teachers. Students(N =17) and teachers(N =10) were interviewed about their experience of integrating the teaching of learning skills with subject content. Documents from the project provided another means for addressing the research questions. The study suggests that students engaged in self-regulated learning although they seemed to struggle to manage aspects of their learning as they moved from the more structured learning in secondary school to the more independent learning characteristic of higher education. The findings also indicate that the students' approaches to learning were not static but altered depending on the task and context. The study established that teachers provided learning skills instruction in context and that the departments approached the development of students learning skills in a variety of ways, from an adjunct study skills class to more fully embedded method. The teachers and students who participated in the research perceived the learning skills assistance to be beneficial, although potential student resistance and other barriers to integration of learning skills development were highlighted. The teachers identified training, resource material and a supportive organisational culture as positive factors to implementation. The study concluded with recommendations on how to further develop the project and to implement future attempts to teach learning skills to students in other academic departments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available