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Factors affecting student success in the workplace

Project leader(s): 
Hilary MacQueen
Theme: 
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Archived
  • We undertook a survey of graduates of a distance-taught work-based learning qualification (the Foundation Degree in Paramedic Sciences) to identify aspects of support required by students to succeed in this context. We were looking not only at pass rate and degree classification, but on less measurable factors contributing to the overall student learning experience.
  • Using a combination of quantitative, qualitative and open text data questions, we identified factors important for student success. Some of these factors were easily quantifiable (e.g. protected study time) but others were less easy to measure (e.g. students’ feelings of being supported).
  • The first part of our investigation involved collecting anonymised demographic data for all graduates of the Foundation Degree in Paramedic Sciences. In the second part of the project we invited all graduates (8 student cohorts) to participate in the survey. The number of respondents was small (n = 30; 8.9% response rate), and because our study was limited to one profession (Emergency care), our results may have limited relevance to other professions.
  • Dedicated study time was not a significant predictor of student success as assessed by pass rate, but was related to the quality of achievement as measured by pass grade. More important for a perceived successful experience were less tangible factors such as relationship with a mentor, and being part of a supportive peer group.
  • For maximum impact, the support measures we have identified should be overtly built into new course design. In particular, placements undertaken away from the primary workplace should be well organised, and students proactively supported while undertaking them.
  • The value of these findings is that they inform, and can be used to enhance, the experience of students on work-based learning programmes and also on degree apprenticeships.

Related resources

MacQueen, H. (2019) Factors affecting student success in the workplace. eSTEeM Final Report (PDF)

MacQueen, H. (2019) Factors affecting student success in the workplace. Appendix A - Questionnaire for alumni (PDF)

MacQueen, H. and Aiken, F.J. (2019) Supporting distance-taught students in the workplace, in Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, DOI 10.1108/HESWBL-04-2019-0048 

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