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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Integrating learning with life: a study of higher education students in a further education college: 2000-2003
Author(s): Lowe, Janet
Supervisor(s): Gayle, Vernon
Issue Date: Aug-2005
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: In Scotland, further education colleges provide 28% of all higher education; this includes over half of part-time undergraduate higher education. This provision has contributed to wider participation in higher education in Scotland by “non traditional” students and to progress towards a mass system of higher education within a learning society. This thesis is a case study of higher education students in a Scottish further education college. It explores the nature of the students’ experience and its relevance to institutional management and higher education policy. Evidence is drawn from the college’s records, from focus groups and from a questionnaire survey of whole year groups (full-time and part-time students) over three successive years. The theoretical focus is upon a new definition of lifelong learning as learning integrated with life, drawn from literature on motive, motivation, participation and retention. The research explores the students’ experiences of combining study with work and family life. The student experience is found to be heterogeneous, complex and distinct from the stereotype of a young full-time university student. Vocational motives predominate and there is evidence of a significant investment of meaning, expectation and purpose in the experience of higher education. The students’ ability to balance and integrate learning with life is a determining factor in the achievement of sustained participation. The quality of support networks both in college and in the students’ work and family lives are found to be more significant than personal or demographic characteristics. The case study contributes to current thinking about the professional role of college senior managers in creating a student-centred institutional culture that responds to the complexity of the students’ experience. A case is made for a review of the current inequity of financial support for full-time and part-time higher education students and of the marginal status of colleges in the development of higher education policy.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Education

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