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Title: Engaging with learning opportunities for positive outcomes : a study of post-secondary learners' experiences in a rural college setting
Author: Wainwright-Stewart, A. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 6726
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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The purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of students’ post-secondary lived experiences at a rural college in Canada. My primary question was: How do students, who have engaged with the learning opportunities at Prairie Site College, make sense of being engaged in these experiences? The theoretical framework of appreciative inquiry (AI) was applied using the methodology of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to address the research question. Ten graduating students at a rural college in Canada took part in the study. To collect data the visual research technique of photo-elicitation and semi-structured interviews were implemented. The study found that positive learning experiences include two key aspects that contribute to learner success: belongingness and authentic learning activities promote student engagement. Students that feel connected to their learning environment are more compelled to seek out new learning activities. Learners who experience practical, real-world activities understand concepts better. The outcome of combining belongingness and authentic learning promotes transformational learning thus providing learners with confidence to learn, grow, and develop positive self-esteem as well as experience transformational life changes. The implications for professional practice in supporting positive learning in post-secondary learners include creating an atmosphere of belongingness where learners feel cared about, find connections and experience trust. Building an authentic learning environment incorporates support for learners and provides for engagement with others in real-world activities. Learners who experience this combination should experience personal change.
Supervisor: McGugan, Stuart ; Gough, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral