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Wednesday, June 22 • 11:15 - 12:15
CON01.10b - Engaging First-Year Students through Learning Skills Workshops

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Student Services support, including learning skills assistance, can be integral in empowering learners. First-year students are expected to be self-directed in their learning, yet may have neither been challenged nor experienced negative consequences for a lack of perseverance (Côté & Allahar, 2007). Academic skills professionals can be partners with teaching faculty in student success by helping to build the necessary transferable skills in high-fail introductory courses. This presentation describes workshops targeting fundamental skills (e.g., taking lecture notes, reading textbooks) with course-specific examples designed to promote active participation. Paloyo, Rogan and Siminski (2016) found that a monetary incentive increased participation in academic support sessions by 19%. In the current study, instructors in introductory biology directed students receiving D grades or below on the first test to learning skills support. Sociology faculty incorporated workshop attendance into the introductory course with participation grades. ‘Incentivizing' learning skills has increased workshop attendance by 42%.

The incoming high school averages, and first test scores, of the sociology students attending workshops did not differ from students not attending workshops. However, sociology students who subsequently used this resource had significantly higher course grades, persistence, sessional GPAs and cumulative GPAs than students not attending workshops. Controlling for high school average, each learning skills workshop attended by the introductory biology students was estimated to raise sessional GPA by .103 on a 4.3 point scale. Participants in this session will identify the fundamental skill sessions offered to students in first-year sociology and biology, compare the described program with academic support currently on their home campuses, and evaluate the efficacy of learning skills workshops for supporting first-year courses.

avatar for Sheilagh Grills

Sheilagh Grills

Learning Skills Specialist, Brandon University
Sheilagh Grills is a learning skills specialist in Student Services at Brandon University. As a member of the Academic Skills Centre, she helps students learn transferable, foundational skills through non-credit learning skills workshops and individual instruction, and teaches an... Read More →

Wednesday June 22, 2016 11:15 - 12:15 EDT
UCC 65