Perception of academic learning environments and perceived impact on articulation of employability skills; a mixed methods study

  • Catherine Hayes Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
  • Siobhan Devlin Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
  • Diane Westwood Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
  • Iain Garfield Estates Department University of Sunderland United Kingdom
  • Philip Beardmore Estates Department University of Sunderland United Kingdom
  • David Archer Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
  • Michael Collins Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
  • Lewis Bingle Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
Keywords: learning environments, employability, signature pedagogies, situated cognition, problem based learning

Abstract

This study reports on the findings of a mixed methods study that was undertaken to establish student perceptions of academic learning environments and the perceived impact of these on their articulation of employability skills. This was so student perspectives on employability could be used to inform reflection on pedagogic practices for their educators in higher education. Using a purposive sample of 250 students based in a recently modernised Sciences Complex Building in a Higher Education Institution (HEI), the study was cross sectional and descriptive by design. The social learning spaces researched were perceived by participants to provide optimal academic learning environments for their development of knowledge, skills and professionalism through certain signature pedagogies as they progressed through their programmes of study. Students also expressed the view that their acquisition of functional skills were significantly more important than any personal attributes/characteristics that they brought to programmes. What also mattered was whether the importance of certain graduate skills to the workplace had been made explicit to them so that they could see the relevance of their studies to practice. In defining 'graduateness', in employability terms the research concluded that it was necessary to consider how it was shaped by the context of delivery of subject disciplines, stages of academic progression, and the use of social learning spaces, as they all had a significant impact on the perceptions students held about their potential employability upon completion of their academic programmes.

Author Biographies

Catherine Hayes, Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
Principal Lecturer, Department of Pharmacy Health and Wellbeing, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland
Siobhan Devlin, Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
Principal Lecturer, Department of Pharmacy Health and Wellbeing, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland
Diane Westwood, Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
Principal Lecturer, Department of Pharmacy Health and Wellbeing, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland
Iain Garfield, Estates Department University of Sunderland United Kingdom
Head of Estates, University of Sunderland
Philip Beardmore, Estates Department University of Sunderland United Kingdom
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David Archer, Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
Senior Lecturer,Department of Pharmacy Health and Wellbeing, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland
Michael Collins, Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
Senior Lecturer,Department of Pharmacy Health and Wellbeing, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland
Lewis Bingle, Faculty of Applied Sciences University of Sunderland United Kingdom
Senior Lecturer,Department of Pharmacy Health and Wellbeing, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sunderland
Published
2016-10-14
How to Cite
Hayes, C., Devlin, S., Westwood, D., Garfield, I., Beardmore, P., Archer, D., Collins, M. and Bingle, L. (2016) “Perception of academic learning environments and perceived impact on articulation of employability skills; a mixed methods study”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. Plymouth, UK, 0(10). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.v0i10.314.
Section
Papers