University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

"You get out what you put in": How Students Perceive their "Learner Journeys" at the University of Worcester

Devine, Kathryn ORCID: (2019) "You get out what you put in": How Students Perceive their "Learner Journeys" at the University of Worcester. In: LILAC: The Information Literacy Conference, 24-26 April 2019, University of Nottingham. (Unpublished)

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The skills and knowledge acquisition, and personal growth, of students through their degree courses is often likened to a journey, but defining this, and creating meaningful, quality interventions based on staff and student perceptions of it, is no simple matter. Such research as is available tends to focus on Further Education and routes into study rather than the skills attained once at university. Students’ perceptions of their journey, its quality, and the scaffolding and support they receive during it is crucial to their experience, as well as their employability on graduation. It is also vital to the university in terms of the NSS and TEF ratings. Student experience and satisfaction, as well as being an important metric in its own right, is critical to maximising attainment and reducing attrition. Likewise, satisfaction with library services is a significant component of the NSS. As librarians become increasingly teaching focused (see Austin and Bhandol 2013; Julien and Genuis 2011; Goetsch 2008; Hardy and Corrall 2007), they have the potential to make a positive contribution to their institution’s TEF outcome, and arguably to their own satisfaction as educators and information professionals.

Following a project carried out by University of Worcester Library Services to explore the views of academic staff around the “learner journey”, this research considered the same question but focused now on the student voice. Five undergraduate students from levels 4 to 6 participated, representing five of the university’s seven academic institutes. The learner journey was defined here as not just the student’s academic pathway; that is, the modules they take and the assessments they must pass to complete them, but the overarching skills they acquire along the way, and indeed beyond their undergraduate course into employment or further study. It encompasses the skillset they build as they navigate the course and the applicability (or otherwise) of this to the workplace or continued education at postgraduate level. (Devine, 2018). Via focus groups and a focused interview, student perceptions of their learner journey were explored, and, drawing on the principles of grounded theory, five principal themes identified. These were: transition to, and preparedness for, university, progression, personal responsibility and engagement, employability, and communication. The final project is being utilised within University of Worcester Library Services and was submitted as the author’s MSc dissertation, for which it won the Douglas Anderson Award from Robert Gordon University.

In this presentation, the findings of the study will be discussed both as they pertain to Worcester and to the wider academic library and information literacy contexts. It will be argued that whilst the findings were encouraging for our current IL teaching practice, there is more that can and should be done. Students need clarity as to the extent of the library service’s remit. More class time needs to be allocated to scaffolded, embedded information literacy provision and librarians must work in partnership with academic colleagues to ensure this is timely and aligned to module learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: learner journey, information literacy, transition, progression, personal responsibility, student engagement, employability, communication
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Divisions: Central Services > Library Services
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Kathryn Devine
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2019 17:44
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:31

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