A face to face focus group made up of students from the Granton campus of Edinburgh College. Despite invitations being sent to a large number of students via the Students’ Association along with the offer of a £10 Amazon voucher for attendance, only 3 students came along to the session. Participants explained that students are constantly being asked to attend one focus group or another so it can be very difficult to persuade people to come along when they’re already so busy.
The key views of the learners were that:
- If we could wave a magic wand and change things for adult learning, then we would wish for better financial support and good communication
- Our class has come up with a list of everything that helps with the course … it’s been great. Lecturers and tutors need to be reflective though. An anxious lecturer makes for an anxious class!
- People like to be taught in different ways. If you want to learn in a different way you have to do it in your own time and work out how … it’s mainly taught as a group in the same way to everyone.
- In one of my classes I suggested more interactive activities and that worked well. I think it’s important that lecturers ask people how they learn best.
- Some styles of teaching are great, some are not so good. It’s not just about teaching methods, a lot of it’s down to communication. It has to be flexible … change the font, make wider spacing, talk more, use media … these small things can make a huge impact.
- I’ve suffered a head injury in the past and it can take me longer to process information. Sets of instructions don’t always work for me. Learning styles are really important, so’s knowing the student profile.
- It takes quite a brave person to speak out and say what we need. A quiet or socially anxious person is much less likely to speak out.
- The college needs to think about the support provided at the application and selection stages. With the right processes in place the necessary support can be made available.
- I’m a class rep and I take anonymous messages and feed them back on behalf of the whole class. Class reps need to make sure to feed back the positives as well as complaints. It also works better if they provide potential solutions and not just a list of problems. There aren’t class reps for every course unfortunately.
- There should be more interfaculty interaction and communication. It does happen but perhaps just in pockets. Where it does happen it’s really good and should be celebrated more. It would be better if it was organised more formally though. At the moment it relies on students from different courses seeking each other out.
- The good thing about being a mature student is that you’re more self assured and less scared to speak out for yourself. The transition from school to college is difficult for a lot of the younger students – they can be quite surprised that it’s much less formal and that they need to take more responsibility for themselves.
- I think the most important thing for mature students is access to funding at all levels.
- It’s also important that people realise that not everyone at college is young!
- If college wasn’t here I’d be in a dead end job because my qualifications from Greece don’t translate to anything of real value here.
- I’m interested in the Nordic model where vocational strands of education are valued just as much as higher education.
You can download more information at the link below:
Focus Group for College Students