Changing the face of academic skills workshops

  • Sheryl Mansfield University of Northampton
Keywords: Active learning, Academic skills, Flipped classroom, Asynchronous.


The flipped approach offers flexibility in the way students learn and was adopted within Learning Development workshops to improve academic skills. Academic skills are predominantly taught using passive content, however the flipped approach looks to change the emphasis and provide active opportunities to understand taught knowledge. The sessions were delivered alongside self-paced, online, asynchronous content to scaffold academic skills and feed-forward guidance to inform summative assessment preparation. The objective was to assess the effectiveness of the flipped approach in delivering academic skills. A cohort of 50 first year students completed three face-to-face academic skills sessions together with the asynchronous content. Each were themed to develop different academic skills using subject specific examples. Attendance data was collected and a survey was used to evaluate the asynchronous content and measure the self-perceived academic confidence levels of students. To measure the success of the flipped approach this data was analysed together with the number of attempts at each e-tivity and the formative and summative grades. Results demonstrated those who attended two or more sessions (57.7% +/- 1.43) had a significantly higher summative score (p=0.041) than those who attended 1 or less (51.7% +/- 2.73). The summative grades and the number of attempts at the asynchronous content demonstrated a positive linear relationship for e-tivity 1 to 3. Overall the academic confidence improved in nearly a third of all students for each e-tivity and 17 students (54.8%) stated that they preferred the flipped approach in developing their academic skills. This emphasises that the flipped approach is an effective method to improve summative grades and deliver academic skills.

Author Biography

Sheryl Mansfield, University of Northampton

I am a qualified teacher and have 16 years’ experience teaching in further education in addition to managing and developing curriculum. I moved to the University of Northampton as a Learning Development Tutor in 2017 and developed a range of online resources igniting my research interest in the flipped classroom and active blended learning.

How to Cite
Mansfield, S. (2020) “Changing the face of academic skills workshops”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. Plymouth, UK, (17). Available at: (Accessed: 10July2020).