Anecdotal to actual: identifying users of learning development to inform future practice

Avril Buchanan

Abstract


With increasing pressure on universities to ensure their students are graduating with a good honours degree, understanding where Learning Development sits in the university and its impact is arguably becoming more important. The Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS) at De Montfort University, Leicester, has investigated data, collected since 2010, on student engagement with our Learning Development Service. The study aimed to discover the diversity of students availing of learning development, with regards to characteristics such as: gender, ethnicity, disability, age, parental education and module marks. The data presented shows how CLaSS can justifiably engage in university wide discussions about retention and achievement, as well as widening participation agendas. It compares, where possible, who is using CLaSS to the diversity of students within the university. Initial findings are presented, with discussion about how findings have impacted practice, with a particular focus on the attainment gap. From close analysis of the findings which demonstrate a lack of engagement by males with learning development, the paper proposes why this may be the case and offers insight into recent activities to try and reduce the gender gap. Overall, the paper recognises how interpretation of and greater awareness of our user diversity has informed our team strategy and future direction.

Keywords


Keywords: learning development; impact; engagement; attainment gap; diversity; retention; achievement; gender; disability; ethnicity; parental education; age.

Full Text: PDF

ISSN: 1759-667X