Analysing student perceptions of transferable skills via undergraduate degree programmes

This source preferred by Ian Jones

Authors: Burke, V., Jones, I. and Doherty, M.

http://alh.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/6/2/132

Journal: Active Learning in Higher Education

Volume: 6

Pages: 132-144

ISSN: 1469-7874

DOI: 10.1177/1469787405054238

Despite the assumption that ‘transferable’ skills are part and parcel of a graduate’s portfolio, there is a lack of information about the extent to which such skills may be perceived by students to be valuable. Although the skills agenda has been at the forefront of Higher Education (HE) provision for some time, contemporary studies focus upon measurement issues and neglect the process aspects of skills learning and development. There is also a lack of research to support methodologies aimed at promoting optimal transfer of skills to work environments. It is apparent that there is a certain lack of clarity about the linkage between the nature of the learning environments that may be provided, and the types of outcomes that are purported to accrue. Accordingly, focusing on this context, the investigation had two objectives: first, to assess students’ perceptions of the knowledge and skills acquired during their undergraduate degree programmes; and second, to evaluate the perceived effectiveness of the strategies adopted in respect of learning transfer. At the University of Luton 116 Level Three students completed a questionnaire that covered all the major skill descriptors of the university’s skills template. The results revealed statistically significant differences between the two closely related programmes in terms of perceived skills acquisition. Although the findings indicated that students were moderately satisfied with the skills acquired, a potential cause for concern was that one in five students did not perceive any transfer strategies to be effective.

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Authors: Burke, V., Jones, I. and Doherty, M.

Journal: Active Learning in Higher Education

Volume: 6

Issue: 2

Pages: 132-144

ISSN: 1469-7874

DOI: 10.1177/1469787405054238

Despite the assumption that ‘transferable’ skills are part and parcel of a graduate's portfolio, there is a lack of information about the extent to which such skills may be perceived by students to be valuable. Although the skills agenda has been at the forefront of Higher Education (HE) provision for some time, contemporary studies focus upon measurement issues and neglect the process aspects of skills learning and development. There is also a lack of research to support methodologies aimed at promoting optimal transfer of skills to work environments. It is apparent that there is a certain lack of clarity about the linkage between the nature of the learning environments that may be provided, and the types of outcomes that are purported to accrue. Accordingly, focusing on this context, the investigation had two objectives: first, to assess students’ perceptions of the knowledge and skills acquired during their undergraduate degree programmes; and second, to evaluate the perceived effectiveness of the strategies adopted in respect of learning transfer. At the University of Luton 116 Level Three students completed a questionnaire that covered all the major skill descriptors of the university's skills template. The results revealed statistically significant differences between the two closely related programmes in terms of perceived skills acquisition. Although the findings indicated that students were moderately satisfied with the skills acquired, a potential cause for concern was that one in five students did not perceive any transfer strategies to be effective. © 2005, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.

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