Supporting distance-taught students in the workplace

MacQueen, Hilary and Aiken, Fiona (2019). Supporting distance-taught students in the workplace. Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, 10(1) pp. 49–60.



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of workplace support measures offered by employers on the academic performance and satisfaction of distance-taught paramedic students.
Design/methodology/approach – Using a combination of quantitative, qualitative and open text data, the authors identified factors important for student success.
Findings – Dedicated study time was not a significant predictor of student pass rate, but was related to the quality of achievement as measured by pass grade. More important for success were less tangible factors such as relationship with a mentor and being part of a supportive peer group.
Research limitations/implications – The number of respondents to the survey of graduates in the second part of the investigation was small (n¼30; 8.9 per cent) and limited to one profession (Emergency care).
Practical implications – The support measures the authors have identified should be overtly built into new course design. Placements undertaken away from the primary workplace should be well organised, and students proactively supported while undertaking them.
Originality/value – The value of these findings is that they inform, and can be used to enhance, the experience of students on work-based learning programmes and also on degree apprenticeships.

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