Peer-learning to employable: Learnings from an evaluation of PASS attendee and facilitator perceptions of employability at Western Sydney University

Robert Carr, Kylie Evans-Locke, Hanan Abu-Saif, Renée Boucher, Karen Douglas, Lenny Patel (Contributor), Travis Holland (Contributor)

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Abstract

This study examines student experiences of Peer Assisted Study Sessions(PASS) at Western Sydney University (WSU), investigating attendee and facilitator perceptions of the relationship between peer-learning and employability. It defers to contemporary higher education scholarship and related sector definitions of employability as an objective criteria for evaluating outcomes which may result from student experiences with PASS.This investigation observes the extent to which such definitions are evident in the skills and attributes students have acquired via their participation in PASS through both quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected across two consecutive semesters at WSU (Autumn and Spring) in 2015. Survey responses were collected from 297 PASS attendees and 45 PASS facilitators, further incorporating data collected via focus groups with 46 PASS attendees. The evidence allowed the researchers to examine how students perceived they had gained attributes from PASS that render them more employable. The research results highlight the benefits and limitations of the methods utilised to collect data from PASS participants, and this article elaborates key insights gained as a result of the research process that may be useful to peer-learning practitioners beyond WSU. The study found that attendees and facilitators of the WSU PASS program perceive that the program contributes to student employability in a variety of ways such as improving participants’ core technical skills, organisational skills, social skills,professionalism and business acumen, appreciation of mentoring, and critical thinking skills.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)41-64
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Peer Learning
Volume11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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