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Students’ perceptions of their learning experiences: A repeat regional survey of healthcare students

Hamshire, C and Barrett, N and Langan, M and Harris, E and Wibberley, C (2017) Students’ perceptions of their learning experiences: A repeat regional survey of healthcare students. Nurse Education Today, 49. pp. 168-173. ISSN 0260-6917

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Abstract

Background Student experience is an international concern and recent research has focused on initiatives to improve students’ learning experiences and ultimately reduce attrition levels. Objective To determine similarities and differences between students’ perceptions of their learning experiences between 2011 and 2015 in relation to campus-based learning, placement-based learning and personal circumstances. Design A repeat online survey in 2011 and 2015; using a questionnaire developed from thematic analysis of narrative interviews with a subsample of the target population. Settings Nine universities in the North West of England. Participants A total of 1080 students completed the survey in 2011 and 1983 students in 2015 from a target population of all students studying on commissioned pre-registration healthcare education programmes. Methods An online survey was made available to all undergraduate students studying on Health Education funded programmes within the region and survey respondents were invited to give demographic information and rate their agreement to statements on four-point Likert-type responses. Results Responses to a repeat survey of healthcare studying in the North West of England in 2015 were strikingly similar overall to those of an original 2011 survey. Although the students were positive overall about their experiences, a number were dissatisfied with some aspects of their experiences - particularly in relation to initial support on campus and whilst studying on placement. Four years on from the original survey, despite a considerable investment in improving students’ experiences across the region, there appears to be little change in students’ perceptions of their learning experiences Conclusion In the short-term monitoring of student experience needs to be continued; and links to attrition (potential or actual) noted and acted upon. However, given that attrition from these courses has been a long-term problem and the complexity of its resolution a recurrent finding in the literature; new ways of framing and resolving the problem need to be considered.

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