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Your tutor is your friend: using experiential learning to enhance second year transition

Kathleen MacDonald (Division of Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK)
Caroline E. Gibson (Division of Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 23 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper describes a second‐year induction programme developed to support student transition. The sophomore slump theory suggests that students may experience a slump in the second year, resulting in poorer outcomes and increased attrition rates. Students were asked to reflect on their first year experience in order to identify learning and plan for the year ahead, in order to reduce potential for a slump during the second year.

Design/methodology/approach

Students beginning the second year of a four‐year BSc Honours Nursing programme participated in a one‐day induction prior to commencement of semester 1 classes. Students were assigned to groups and asked to reflect on some key questions in relation to their first year experience. Responses were collated on flip chart paper and discussed together.

Findings

Emergent themes are discussed here: forward planning, engagement with the institution, and building a strong foundation.

Practical implications

This process served to illustrate to staff some of the “hidden curriculum” issues and offered opportunities to focus on areas of student weakness such as referencing and academic writing. Using a combination of reflection, and experiential learning in induction may serve to transition students through the sophomore slump.

Originality/value

The challenge for academics is to continue to find ways to enhance the student experience in an increasingly diverse student population, and determine its effect on attrition rates. This paper offers a reflective commentary, exploring the authors’ learning, on the implementation of one innovative programme of longitudinal induction.

Keywords

Citation

MacDonald, K. and Gibson, C.E. (2011), "Your tutor is your friend: using experiential learning to enhance second year transition", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 107-115. https://doi.org/10.1108/17581181111198656

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited