WELL-BEING AND SUCCESS IN MATURE LEARNERS PREPARING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
University of Auckland (NEW ZEALAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The transition from school to university presents challenges as students engage with new people, places and ways of learning and teaching (Lowe & Cook, 2003). While many students may thrive in their new environment, the consequences for those who do not are manifold and extend well beyond the transition period. They include loss of well-being including: apathy and detachment (Johnston, 1994), distress (Laanan, 2001), anxiety (Gerdes & Mallinckrodt, 1994), depression (Poyrazli, Arbona, Bullington, & Pisecco, 2001). Higher education institutions devote considerable resources to mitigating the negative associates of loss of well-being and properly offer their students extensive healthcare and counselling services (McLaughlin, 1999; Regehr, Glancy, & Pitts, 2012). This paper argues that such medical models offer only partial solutions and issues of well-being have more general relevance; being related, for example, to motivation and enthusiasm and affected by and affecting the learning environments students occupy (Wolf, 2009). Existing higher education research relates mainly to well-being as indicated by self-reports of depression and anxiety and little is known about changes in enthusiasm and contentment over time. We report a study in which we monitored emotional well-being (depression, enthusiasm, anxiety, and contentment) in a cohort (N=130) of students enrolled in a university preparation course designed for mature learners. Data was captured at the beginning, mid-point and end of a 13 week course. Sub-clinical well-being was found to be predictive of a number of outcomes including proactive behaviours, self-directed learning, orientation to learning, leaving, belonging and satisfaction. We will explore the implications of our results for teaching, supporting, retaining and enthusing learners.
Keywords: Mature students, well-being, support.