Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Dingsdag, D, Morgan, C & Saenger, H 1996, 'Evaluation of a strategy for fostering generic skills in distance education learners', in D Kirkpatrick, S Mann, L Willcoxson & S Leong (eds), Different approaches : theory and practice in higher education : proceedings of the 1996 Annual Conference of the Higher Education and Research Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), Perth, WA, 8-12 July, HERDSA, Canberra, ACT.


The development of generic learning skills are a much valued and debated goal of tertiary education. The unit of study which is the subject of this research paper was developed to foster deep learning skills. This paper describes an evaluation of a strategy designed to foster generic skills among a cohort of 97 distance education learners enrolled at Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW, Australia. The evaluation consisted of a triangulated methodology of student evaluation, marking criteria and semi structured telephone interviews. Findings indicate that there were problems in introducing a deep learning strategy because of a tendency among adult learners towards self directedness and a resistance towards adopting a deep learning strategy because of pre-existing self developed essay writing and learning strategies. Students did not universally adopt a deep strategy to learning but rather adopted it to varying degrees to suit their needs.

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