Factors Affecting Student Engagement with Learning : a pilot study in an Accounting department

Lyons, Jon (2005) Factors Affecting Student Engagement with Learning : a pilot study in an Accounting department. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 3 (1). pp. 5-11. ISSN 1740-5106


The policy of expanding higher education in the UK has led to higher education institutions (HEIs) widening participation to students from non-traditional backgrounds (Higher Education Funding Council in England (HEFCE, 2003) at the same time as student fees are being introduced (Curtis, 2004). Many HEIs, which have a high proportion of non-traditional students, have poor retention rates. This might be due to factors such as lack of preparedness for higher education, changing personal circumstances, and dissatisfaction with the course or institution as suggested by the National Audit Office (NAO - 2002). However it is contended that here are other factors which impact upon learning, such as commitments outside the HEI and the student’s relationship with the institution. Non-traditional students are difficult to define, but tend to be those in employment for more than 12 hours a week, over 21, or with non-traditional qualifications. The institution where the study took place recruits a high proportion of students from non-traditional backgrounds. In order to support themselves, many students work in paid employment (Leathwood and Dalgety, 2002) for more than the 12 hours a week recognised by the Department of Education and Employment Committee (as cited in NAO, 2001) to have an adverse effect on learning.

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