Mature students have:
- Equal levels of satisfaction
- Deeper learning strategies
- more committed / motivated
- Different pattern of interaction (less interaction with other students)
- Better able to manage distance (have the life skills and time-management skills
- Experience a lot of role and financial pressure
- alienation and anxiety
- Lack of skills (don't necessarily have the up to date skills required...yet another thing to learn in the first year)
- Overload of first year
- Knowledge conflict
Ella's research questions are: Which dimensions predict satisfaction and learning? How do age and model of study relate to engagement and outcomes? How do students who consider leaving university differ? Of 1116 first year domestic undergraduate students at Massy, 27.1% are aged over 25. The relationship between engagement and satisfaction - the more engaged students are the more satisfied they are. The students who reported a higher support and more work-integrated learning were more satisfied. This increases to 44% where there was active learning.
Students who considered leaving (27%) were less satisfied, there was no difference with age or mode of study, there was lower learning, and reduced engagement (less supportive learning environment, less integration with work, and reduced academic challenge).
Age and mode of study did not affect the outcomes of satisfaction and learning, but saw more connections between what they were doing within the work environment, but made fewer friends with other students. the distance students scored lower on all levels of engagement.
Key things to consider are:
- Creating a supportive learning environment (academic and social)
- Work integrated learning are related top satisfaction, learning and persistence, and build on strengths of the mature distance students.
- The active learning requires building in choice around asking questions and discussing equally, collaboration with other students...but caution is required.