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Understanding Learner Disengagement: Why do students pay £9,000

Langan, A. M. and Whitton, N (2016) Understanding Learner Disengagement: Why do students pay £9,000. Learning and Teaching in Action, 12 (1). pp. 56-70.

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Abstract

The Understanding Learner Disengagement project used learner interviews, undertaken by student researchers, to gain insights into the reasons that students chose not to engage with available learning opportunities. The study discusses the complexity of the term ‘engagement’, and its antithesis disengagement, before exploring the current perspectives of the students who took part in the study. In total, 47 semi-structured interviews were carried out with students in three areas of the university, selected due to their size and ranges of different types of learner. The findings suggest some core areas of the student experience were associated with non-participation in classes, particularly the perceived value of the learning experience, conflicting priorities, peer influence, and the accessibility of the class. The messages were found to be consistent with the literature and some initial recommendations are made, with the caveat that solutions should be designed at a local level to fit the needs of particular student cohorts.

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