HIGHER EDUCATION - WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? KNOWLEDGE OR EMPLOYABILITY
Coventry University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:This session will look at the course based supports offered to students at a UK university. It has taken an innovative approach to supporting students with their employability from year one through to graduation. The continuing research aims to disseminate a non-traditional style of delivery to employability skills. The driver for this was previous, consistent feedback from students to traditional skills and employment modules being too broad and generic and wanting a more personalised approach. The business courses that have adopted this new and contemporary approach have embedded the concept in all years of study, building up a student's personal toolkit of skills preparing them for their careers and lives in society beyond graduation. This personalisation process, coupled with a view of transition that covers students' entire time at university, has had mixed results from both an academic and student perspective. The link is to the conference topic of pedagogical innovations in Education - Personalised Learning. Whilst the concept of non-traditional delivery is well known in UK HE, the debate of what HEIs should be providing is an interesting area to consider further too.
The initial findings centres around two key areas. Firstly, questioning the role of HE. Should HE be focusing on supporting students with employability or concentrating on what many would suggest should be HEIs key purpose of developing knowledge and educating students on their courses (Collini 2012, Docherty 2015). Secondary findings relate to the self-identity of students who, almost universally, viewed themselves as 'different' and hence the idea of a personalised learning journey would be deemed as positive. Each student was clear about their own individual needs and how they could be met so it was assumed this approach would be welcomed by students, but initial feedback may suggest differently
The university is moving away from a standardised approach to delivering curriculum and course content with personalised learning coming more to the forefront, this may therefore be giving students the individualised support that each student wants and/or needs. This research raises the question, is this what universities should be focusing on and do students know what they want or need for employability in the future?
Keywords: Personalised learning, higher education, employability, supporting students.