NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED498615
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Providing Effective Learner Support for Part-Time Learners. Research Report
Barker, Philip; Crawley, Jim
Learning and Skills Network (NJ1)
Learner support, defined as the strategies which empower learners to establish and fulfill their learning, career and personal potential, continues to be a key issue in current thinking in the post-16 education sector. An earlier project report from the West Country Learning and Skills Research Network (WCLSRN) showed that part-time learners were considerably disadvantaged in terms of the learner support that they receive when compared with full-time learners. This project set out to explore further the experiences of part-timers, their needs, and factors that affect their support. This report describes a project that took place between September 2003 and September 2004, with data collected between the beginning of October 2004 and the end of March 2005. The data was collected from students in five post-16 provider organizations within the West Country Learning and Skills Research Network (WCLSRN) region. One of these was a higher education institution; the remaining four could all be described as general further education. The learners were studying a wide range of courses and were all studying part-time, some by distance learning and some work-based learners. One-to-one interviews, focus groups and a questionnaire survey were used to gather data. Researchers agreed on a common semi-structured interview schedule for use in the interviews, as well as a framework for the use of focus groups. Although there were differences in the number of students contacted in each organization, all sites conducted at least one focus group and 12 interviews. The research team conducted a literature review, produced context statements for each site, and held pre- and post-data collection events to prepare for the interviews and focus groups, and to analyze and moderate their findings. They also met to contribute to the production of the final report. The research findings fell in to six broad areas: (1) Student awareness and understanding of their entitlement to learner support and its availability; (2) Student need for learner support; (3) How students' needs for learner support are met; (4) Barriers and negative experiences that some part-time learners experience; (5) Being par t-time; and (6) Implications for key stakeholders. The findings suggest that: (1) Some part-timers are not aware of their entitlement to learner support and they have limited access to learner support facilities: (2) Peer support is frequently mentioned by part-time learners as important; (3) Part-time learners have many demands on their time and feel that providers need to recognize that their study, although important to them, may at times not be the first priority in their lives; and (4) Part-time learners state that high quality teaching increases their motivation. The researchers recommend that: (1) Providers need to ensure that the planning of learner support facilities includes provision to meet the particular needs of par t-time learners; (2) Provision of learner support needs to be more flexible to ensure part-time learners can use the facilities; (3) Part-time learners need high quality information about their courses and provider; providers need to ensure that learners have received and understood this information: (4) Teachers and tutors should enable the development of peer support at the start of part-time programs; and (5) Part-time learners need high quality teaching. The report includes a bibliography. An appendix includes: Key messages from the literature; Issues specific to part-time study; Models of learner support; and Learner motivation. (Contains 5 tables.) [This document was published by the Learning and Skills Network and results from the Learning and Skills Development Agency's strategic programme of research and development, funded by the Learning and Skills Council.]
Learning and Skills Network. Regent Arcade House, 19-25 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7LS, UK. Tel: +44-845-071-0800; Fax: +44 20 7297 9001; email:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Learning and Skills Council, Coventry (England).
Authoring Institution: N/A