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One year on: Using a learning skills programme to support learners at risk of academic underachievement

Author Catherine Mahon and Una Crowley
Abstract Making the transition to higher education requires learners to become increasingly responsible for regulating their own learning. However, not all learners will have developed, or indeed be aware of, the various strategies that can be utilised to aid learning and improve academic achievement. Over the past year, we have piloted a new learning skills programme designed to support learners who have underachieved academically since commencing higher education. One of the aims of this support programme was to help learners identify and practise effective strategies that could feasibly be incorporated into their own studies (e.g., elaboration and organisation techniques). Following on from the paper presented at last year's conference detailing the programme methodology, in the current paper we report on the data collected, including a comparison of the pre- and post-programme academic performance and learning strategy use of the 40 participating learners. In the aftermath of the programme, alongside observing increases in the frequency with which particular learning strategies were used, a number of socio-emotional benefits were also noted (e.g., gains in feelings of inclusion and confidence). Lastly, the prevalent themes to emerge from the programme evaluation are described, with reference to questionnaire data. Specifically, we focus on what aspects of the programme the learners found useful and the reasons underlying the perceived utility. Potential implications for similar learning skills support programmes are reflected upon from the perspective of learners completing the programme and teachers facilitating the programme.
Keywords Learning support, academic achievement
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2013
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