The Centre provides education and training opportunities for a wide range of individual and group learning and development needs, and provides advice and consultancy to businesses and organisations both large and small. The Centre for Work Related Studies encompasses the Professional Development Unit and the Work-Based Learning Unit enhancing the employability of our students.

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  • Football Fandom as a Platform for Digital Health Promotion and Behaviour Change: A Mobile App Case Study

    Fenton, Alex; Anna, Cooper-Ryan; Marianne (Maz), Hardey; Wasim, Ahmed; University of Chester; University of Salford; Durham University; University of Stirling (MDPI, 2022-07-09)
    The last decade has seen a dramatic shift toward the study of fitness surveillance, thanks in part to the emergence of mobile health (mHealth) apps that allow users to track their health through a variety of data-driven insights. This study examines the adoption trends and community mediation of the mobile fitness application ‘FanFit’, a platform aimed at promoting physical activity among sports fans by creating a fitness app branded to their favourite team for health promotion. Objective: Our study looked at the impact of a specially designed mobile app (FanFit) as a digital health intervention for initiating and maintaining physical activity as part of football club membership. Our analysis indicates that app users will adopt healthier behaviours as a result of the app’s sense of fan community and behaviour change. Methods: The findings reported here are based on an implementation of the FanFit app and, in particular, on those who participated in a more in-depth study (n = 30). These participants were Rangers FC supporters with a mix of genders (n = 19 males and n = 11 females). Focus groups and interviews were conducted with participants to ascertain users’ perspectives on the most effective methods for nudging users toward adopting and maintaining a pattern of fitness behaviours. Results: The findings show that the user community was interested in fitness and wanted to live a ‘healthy lifestyle,’ which was augmented and fuelled by the app’s competitive architecture design. Furthermore, the data reveal a new fan-health discourse about a person’s developing wants, talents, and identities as embodied beings. Conclusions: We have developed and presented valid links between the use of sports club apps and health programmes. The app could be useful for sports programmes and club providers looking for mHealth applications that provide community support through fan discourse with opportunities for both male and female fans.
  • Exploring the impact of agility and learning in organisations

    Rowe, Lisa; Brook, Cheryl; University of Chester; University of Portsmouth
    Welcome to Volume 14, Issue 2 of the Journal of Work Applied Management, a Special Issue dedicated to examining how work-based learning, action learning and organisational development methods are delivering against the unprecedented and urgent need for organisational agility, flexibility and ambidexterity. The diversity of ways in which these work-applied approaches are effectively curated are increasingly evident across different levels of organisational learning, development, and adaptation in response to the “megatrends” of technological hyper-connectivity, urbanisation, geopolitical tensions and a global climate crisis, amidst a challenging phase of post pandemic economic recovery affecting workforce readiness, supply chains and inflation (Deloitte, 2017; Price Waterhouse Cooper, 2021; 2022).
  • An examination of the dynamics of intergenerational tensions and technological change in the context of post-pandemic recovery

    Moore, Neil; Rowe, Lisa; Stokes, Peter; Lichy, Jessica; Rodgers, Peter; Smith, Simon M.; University of Chester; De Montfort University; IDRAC Business School, Lyon; University of Southampton; Oxford Brooks University
    Technological change is a feature of contemporary life encompassing interactivity, collaboration and, above all, real-time content sharing and livestreaming. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new dynamics in relation to digitisation and technology usage. Within organizations, these changes have been swift and profound, leading to online meetings, events and virtual team management. An explosion of literature has accompanied these changes and their human impacts. However, the generational and intergenerational issues remain under-examined and therefore constitute an important gap. The paper examines the literature on workplace technology, digitalisation and human impacts in relation to the COVID-19, and particularly, through the lens of different generational adoptive patterns. Taking an inductive qualitative approach, the paper’s empirical focus is analyses of semi-structured questionnaire data from intergenerational senior executives. The findings showcase alternative understandings of technology in the late-COVID-19 era and of Xer generational (i.e. born 1961-1981) resilience and operational change dynamics. This allows a number of contributions and implications to be developed.
  • Enhancing the degree apprenticeship curriculum through work-based manager and mentor intervention

    Quew-Jones, Rebecca; Rowe, Lisa; University of Portsmouth; University of Chester (Emerald, 2022-06-03)
    Purpose – Educational policy instruments such as apprenticeship levy and forthcoming lifetime skills guarantee are creating unprecedented opportunities for rapid growth in a range of work-based learning (WBL) programmes, requiring increasingly complex levels of collaboration between providers and employers. Apprenticeships require providers to assume responsibility in ensuring apprentices’ work-based managers and mentors (WBMMs) are equipped to provide effective support to individuals as they learn ‘on the job’. After six years of higher education institution (HEI) apprenticeship curriculum delivery there is opportunity to examine existing WBMM practice to inform the design, content and delivery of a shared knowledge base via a practical interactive toolkit. By developing clearer understanding of WBMMs’ experiences, expectations and challenges, the study aims to reduce potential gaps in knowledge and skills and encourage more effective collaboration between employers and providers to better support apprentices as they progress through WBL programmes. Design/methodology/approach – This paper discusses evolution of higher level and degree apprenticeships, explores guidance for WBMMs and investigates the influence of expectations and motivations of WBMMS. Theoretical and conceptual foundations relating to WBL programme delivery and WBMM role are analysed and discussed. Qualitative data drawn from semi-structured surveys are analysed thematically to investigate common patterns, clarify understanding and identify development areas to inform future university provider and employer practice. Findings - The findings suggest a number of themes to improve apprentice management; further clarity of WBMMs role, greater involvement of WBMM’s for negotiated learning, unplanned experiences do add value and scope for richer mentoring dialogues. WBL value for WBMMs is broader than expected, incorporating apprentice performance and output improvements, and solving complex problems. Research limitations/implications - The research is drawn from an established University with five years of experience. However, the context in which programmes are delivered significantly varies according to providers and employers. This means factors other than those highlighted in this paper may continue to emerge as the research in this field develops. Practical implications- The practical implications from findings can be used to cultivate stronger collaboration, providing a foundation of knowledge intended to provoke further dialogue regarding content for an interactive toolkit. The findings signal the need for further resources, a review of the restrictions associated with levy funding for co-creation of a more effective national apprenticeship framework. Originality / Value - This paper builds on a limited body of research examining employers’ perspectives of apprenticeship management. Degree apprenticeships have attracted limited scholarly attention over six years since their inception (Bowman, 2022) resulting in a significant paucity of research that focuses upon employer role. This study addresses this void by exploring WBMMs experiences, requirements and expectations, revealing new insights for providers of WBL, employers and individuals employed as WBMMs.
  • Thriving at Work (Integrated Learning): An investigation into adult learners’ experiences of vitality and learning when successfully engaging with work integrated learning

    Wall, Tony; Foster, Scott; Weston, Philippa J. W. (University of Chester, 2021-08)
    Higher Education (HE) has a key role in re-educating an aging UK workforce through part-time programmes aimed at older (30+) working adults. However, since 2010 HE enrolments have plummeted further compounded by high attrition rates. As such, there is an urgent need for HE to research this important but overlooked student category in order to attract and support them. As a HE lecturer in work integrated learning, the researcher has a vested interest in addressing this gap as well as contributing to the thriving at work literature. Taking a social constructivist stance, narrative inquiry has been applied to explore eleven adult work integrated learners’ experiences of thriving to gain a deeper understanding of what positively influences their vitality and learning and how HE can facilitate them. Her findings show learners’ vitality towards work integrated learning mirror their vitality towards work. The opportunity to shape and share learning helps elevate and maintain vitality levels as well as deepen the learning experience so enabling them to thrive. Further, attitudes are not only influenced by the current context but also experiences and events from childhood. However, although HE tutors can positively influence learners’ experience of work integrated learning, most of HE appears to have little impact. As well as exploring thriving in the context of work integrated learning, this study contributes to the thriving at work literature by providing insights which suggest vitality exhibits state-like and trait-like qualities. When vitality combines with work integrated learning, it creates a virtuous circle where one construct builds on the other to enable the learner to thrive. This is further enhanced by learners’ shaping and sharing their learning experience with others. However, learners’ ability to engage with HE successfully in the present is also influenced by their experiences from the past and can impact on their needs and expectations. To attract and retain this important learner category, HE must understand and respond to learners’ needs and expectations not just via interactions with specific tutors but through the HE systems and processes laid down to support them.
  • Binge Watching and the Role of Social Media Virality towards promoting Netflix’s Squid Game

    Ahmed, Wasim; Mariann, Hardey; Fenton, Alex; Das, Ronnie; University of Stirling; University of Chester; Durham University; Audencia Business School, Nantes (Sage, 2022-03-23)
    Management literature has extensively studied viral marketing in the last decade; however, there is a lack of research in understanding network structures and the role of influencers within popular cultural consumption, such as on-demand digital media and binge-watching. In this article, we investigate the role of social media in popularising the East Asian dystopian cultural drama Squid Game. We studied this phenomenon by analyzing social network structures, dynamics and influencer characteristics that transformed Squid Game into a popular global digital cultural consumption sensation. Stemming from the foundational theories of popular culture binge-watching, network theory, and the social media echo chamber effect; we demonstrate how careful ‘seeding’ and ‘broadcasting’ behaviour adopted by Netflix and key influencers helped ‘reciprocal merging’ of creative media content within the broader social media space. Our study found that 13,727 Twitter users were tweeting or mentioned on the day show was released, with a combined follower count of over 853,000,000. Our research findings further present the characteristic of individual group-based echo chambers and their role in value co-creation towards expanding the network boundary through e-WOM. This phenomenon led to the show’s unprecedented popularity amongst a global audience within a short period. Contributions of our work expand viral marketing and echo chamber concepts into the binge-watching and popular digital culture realm, where the interplay between dramatized Asian and Western dystopian social norms provided the very fabric of user-led promotion and value co-creation.
  • Experiences of international students studying in a UK university: how do international students studying in the UK’s Higher Education sector build academic resilience?

    Moore, Neil; Ullah, Farid; Brogden-Ward, Anthony J. (University of Chester, 2021-05)
    With the ever-increasing number of international students entering the global market, many of which enrol on post-graduate Higher Education (HE) programmes in the UK, current research offers limited insight into the key role academic resilience plays in enabling international cohorts’ progression and achievement. This study aims to fill the gap by investigating how international students studying in the UK build academic resilience, contributing to the literature and informing governmental policies and university practices. Guided by Bourdieu’s seminal concepts of social capital generation and conversion, this work develops the theories of other researchers in building capital to enhance the academic resilience of students. It achieves this by adopting a qualitative interpretivist paradigm aligned to similar studies, using a longitudinal representative case study in the UK. Over a period of 42-months, 36 respondents formed four non-probability samples. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews, a focus group and questionnaire, the findings of which were analysed using grounded theory methods and supported by computer-aided qualitative analysis software. The results identify six prevalent capitals that students either generate prior to their arrival in the UK or are socially constructed with newly formed peer-groups. Notably, the emergence of neo-familial capital akin to concepts of fictive kinship offers a fresh perspective on the need to formally address the importance academic resilience has on the international student’s learning experience and progression. The findings provide insight into the sources of international students’ academic resilience and how these can change over space and time. This insight offers universities with theoretical and practical guidance on the need to embed proactive student support systems that stimulate academic resilience amongst its international students. It also informs governmental policies on attracting students from overseas as it seeks to enhance the UK’s HE offer to global markets.
  • The Impacts of the Early Outset of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Climate Change Research: implications for policy-making

    Leal Filho, Walter; Wall, Tony; Alves, Fatima; Nagy, Gustavo J; Fernández Carril, Luis; Li, Chunlan; Azeiteiro, Ulisses M.; Mucova, Serafino; Platje, Johannes; Rayman-Bacchus, Lez; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-06-16)
    Since January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the media and exercises pressure on governments worldwide. Apart from its effects on economies, education systems and societies, the pandemic has also influenced climate change research. This paper examines the extent to which COVID-19 has influenced climate change research worldwide during the first wave at the beginning of 2020 and how it is perceived to exploit it in the future. This study utilised an international survey involving those dedicated to climate change science and management research from Academia, Government, NGOs, and international agencies in 83 countries. The analysis of responses encompasses four independent variables: Institutions, Regions, Scientific Areas, and the level of economic development represented by the Human Development Index (HDI). Results show that: (1) COVID-19 modified the way the surveyed researchers work, (2) there are indicators that COVID-19 has already influenced the direction of climate change and adaptation policy implementation, and (3) respondents perceived (explicitly concerning the COVID-19 lockdowns of March-April 2020), that the pandemic has drawn attention away from climate policy. COVID-19 has influenced the agenda of climate change research for more than half of the respondents and is likely to continue in the future, suggesting that the impacts on their research will still be felt for many years. The paper concludes by outlining critical implications for policy-making.
  • Impacts of COVID-19 and social isolation on academic staff and students at universities: A cross-sectional study

    Leal Filho, Walter; Wall, Tony; Rayman-Bacchus, Lez; Mifsud, Mark; Pritchard, Diana; Orlovic Lovren, Violeta; Farinha, Carla Sofia; Petrovic, Danijela; Balogun, Abdul-Lateef; Hamburg University of Applied Sciences; University of Chester; Winchester Business School; University of Malta; University of Bedfordshire; University of Belgrade; NOVA University Lisbon; Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (BioMed Central, 2021-06-24)
    The impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the shutdown it triggered at universities across the world, led to a great degree of social isolation among university staff and students. The aim of this study was to identify the perceived consequences of this on staff and their work and on students and their studies at universities. Method The study used a variety of methods, which involved an on-line survey on the influences of social isolation using a non-probability sampling. More specifically, two techniques were used, namely a convenience sampling (i.e. involving members of the academic community, which are easy to reach by the study team), supported by a snow ball sampling (recruiting respondents among acquaintances of the participants). A total of 711 questionnaires from 41 countries were received. Descriptive statistics were deployed to analyse trends and to identify socio-demographic differences. Inferential statistics were used to assess significant differences among the geographical regions, work areas and other socio-demographic factors related to impacts of social isolation of university staff and students. Results The study reveals that 90% of the respondents have been affected by the shutdown and unable to perform normal work or studies at their institution for between 1 week to 2 months. While 70% of the respondents perceive negative impacts of COVID 19 on their work or studies, more than 60% of them value the additional time that they have had indoors with families and others. . Conclusions While the majority of the respondents agree that they suffered from the lack of social interaction and communication during the social distancing/isolation, there were significant differences in the reactions to the lockdowns between academic staff and students. There are also differences in the degree of influence of some of the problems, when compared across geographical regions. In addition to policy actions that may be deployed, further research on innovative methods of teaching and communication with students is needed in order to allow staff and students to better cope with social isolation in cases of new or recurring pandemics.
  • Launching the creative practices for wellbeing framework: an international Q&A

    Wall, Tony; Sidsaph, Henry; University of Chester (Lapidus International, 2020-12-17)
    This article is an edited transcript from the launch event of the Creative Practices for Wellbeing Framework in 2020 (Wall and Axtell, 2020). The guidance is now free to download in 20 languages through these web links here, including in English, Welsh, Chinese, and Russian).
  • Category management and strategic sourcing processes in local government: A phenomenographic investigation of the lived experiences of procurement managers

    Manning, Paul; Talbot, Jon; Benn-Ohikuare, Gregory A. (University of Chester, 2020-09)
    Increasingly tight financial constraints have meant category management (CM) and strategic sourcing (SS) processes have been adopted and integrated into the public sectors including English local government authorities (LGAs). The extant literature, however, argues that empirical research in these areas are underdeveloped especially in relation to competency and competencies. Therefore, this study aims to qualitatively investigate the different experiences of procurement managers in LGAs in England in terms of competency for accomplishing effective job performance through the use of CM and SS processes. The research methodology adopted is phenomenography, and data were collected through semi-structured interviews from a purposive sample of ten procurement managers. The data were analyzed following phenomenographic principles to identify the referential and structural aspects of experience. Ultimately, three main conceptions of competency for accomplishing effective job performance through the use of CM and SS processes are identified: Stakeholder Management; SocioTechnical Knowledge; and Achievement Orientation. This study not only expands the research context of phenomenography, but also contributes to the understanding of procurement managers’ conceptions of competency for accomplishing effective job performance through the use of CM and SS processes. The implications for procurement professionals are discussed.
  • Higher Degree Apprenticeships as Drivers for Social Change and Opportunity

    Rowe, Lisa; University of Chester
    This case study examines the impact that Higher Degree Apprenticeships have as drivers for social change and opportunity. It underpins a Chapter which explores the journey of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.
  • COVID-19: the impact of a global crisis on sustainable development teaching

    Leal Filho, Walter; Price, Elizabeth; Wall, Tony; Shiel, Chris; Azeiteiro, Ulisses M.; Mifsud, Mark; Brandli, Luciana; Farinha, Carla Sofia; Caeiro, Sandra; Lange Salvia, Amanda; et al.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global crisis, one which also influences the ways sustainability is being taught at universities. This paper undertakes an analysis of the extent to which COVID-19 as a whole and the lockdown it triggered in particular, which has led to the suspension of presence-based teaching in universities worldwide and influenced teaching on matters related to sustainable development. By means of a worldwide survey involving higher education institutions across all continents, the study has identified a number of patterns, trends and problems. The results from the study show that the epidemic has significantly affected teaching practices. The lockdowns have led to a surge in the use of on-line communication tools as a partial replacement to normal lessons. In addition, many faculty teaching sustainability in higher education have strong competencies in digital literacy. The sampled higher education educations have -as a whole- adequate infrastructure to continue to teach during the lockdowns. Finally, the majority of the sample revealed that they miss the interactions via direct face-to-face student engagement, which is deemed as necessary for the effective teaching of sustainability content. The implications of this paper two-fold. Firstly, it describes how sustainability teaching on sustainable development has been affected by the lockdown. Secondly, it describes some of the solutions deployed to overcome the problem. Finally, the paper outlines the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic may serve the purpose of showing how university teaching on sustainability may be improved in the future, taking more advantage of modern information technologies.
  • Internal Knowledge Transfer: Professional Development Programmes and Embedding Real World Learning for Full-Time Undergraduates

    Perrin, David; Hancock, Connie; Miller, Ruth; University of Chester; Middlesex University
    Perrin, Hancock and Miller provide a discussion of the distinctive features of negotiated work-based learning frameworks that help capture and develop learning for part-time students who are professional practitioners. They demonstrate how approaches to teaching, learning and assessment established in these frameworks can also be leveraged for programmes aimed at full-time undergraduate students wishing to engage with ‘real world’ learning. In this way, full-time students are able to develop the type of professional practice outlooks and skills redolent of part-time students already in employment. The chapter includes two case studies of where this has occurred in UK universities and the methods that were used for this type of internal knowledge transfer.
  • COVID-19: the impact of a global crisis on sustainable development research

    Leal Filho, Walter; Wall, Tony; Vasconcelos, Claudio R. P.; Lange Salvia, Amanda; do Paço, Arminda; Shulla, Kalterina; Levesque, Vanessa; Doni, Federica; Alvarez-Castañón, Lorena; Maclean, Claudia; et al.
    The crisis caused by COVID-19 has affected research in a variety of ways. As far as research on sustainable development is concerned, the lockdown has significantly disrupted the usual communication channels and, among other things, has led to the cancellation of meetings and long-planned events. It has also led to delay in the delivery of research projects. There is a gap in the literature in regards to how a global crisis influences sustainability research. Therefore, this ground-breaking paper undertakes an analysis of the extent to which COVID-19 as a whole, and the lockdown in particular, has influenced sustainability research, and it outlines the solutions pursued by researchers around the world to overcome the many challenges they have experienced. This paper also outlines some measures that may be implemented in the future to take more advantage of existing technologies that support research on sustainable development.
  • Guest editorial

    Scott, Deborah; Nottingham, Paula; Wall, Tony; University of Chester, Middlesex University, University of Chester
    Guest editorial for Special Issue: Creativity in Work-Applied Management. The editorial contextualises and introduces each of the articles published in the special issue. It considers the contribution creativity may make in work-applied management in the global situation at the time of publication, when extensive changes to working practices were being experienced due to strategies to control the pandemic caused by the virus COVID-19.
  • Creatively expanding research from work-based learning

    Scott, Deborah; University of Chester
    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential of creativity in work-based research and practice to yield deeper understanding of practice situations. Unexpected insights can lead one (or a team) to identify new approaches, tackling workplace issues differently, leading to unexpected outcomes of long-term impact. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws on work conducted for a doctoral thesis, investigating the impact of work-based learning for recent masters graduates of a work-based learning programme. Fiction was incorporated into analysis of the data, creating play scripts to represent key aspects of the researcher’s perceptions and interpretations for each participant. Findings – Research participants experienced personal, professional and organisational impact, although there was considerable variability between individuals. Additionally, societal impact was wished for and/or effected. The approach to representation of analysis, which involved fictionalising participants’ experiences, created a strong Thirdspace liminality. This appeared to deepen awareness and understanding. Research limitations/implications – Such approaches can transform the researcher’s perspective, prompting insights which lead to further adventure and development in work-based research and practice. Practical implications – Managers and employees taking creative approaches in the workplace can prompt wide-ranging development and, with professional judgement, be constructive. Social implications – Managers and employees taking creative approaches in the workplace can prompt wide-ranging development and, with professional judgement, be constructive. Originality/value – The creation of play scripts, representing an interpretation of participants’ stories about their work-based learning experience, is an innovative feature of this work.
  • The Reflective Practitioner: The challenges of supporting Public Sector Senior Leaders as they engage in reflective practice

    Rowe, Lisa; Moore, Neil; McKie, Paul; University of Chester (Emerald, 2020-10-13)
    This paper explores the challenges, issues and benefits of reflective practice faced by work-based practitioners undertaking negotiated experiential learning. The study focuses upon the case of a ground-breaking UK based Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMDA) programme which requires learners to develop and apply reflective practice skills through comprehensive work-based learning and research activities. Degree apprenticeships represent a significant opportunity for providers and employers to become more closely aligned in the joint development and promotion of innovative learning opportunities, yet the efficacy of individually negotiated, experiential learning and reflective practice for senior leaders within a challenging healthcare environment remains relatively unexplored from a tripartite perspective. This paper investigates the role of reflective practice within a leading degree apprenticeship programme which embraces this pedagogic approach and considers the potential barriers and benefits for learners and their organisations. The paper begins by discussing the nature of reflective practice in the workplace and explores the growing importance of this activity in contemporary organisations. Theoretical and conceptual foundations relating to experiential learning and reflective practice are analysed and discussed. The SLMDA programme and NHS case organisation are described in detail. Qualitative data drawn from semi-structured interviews undertaken with learners, employers and Personal Academic Tutors (PATs) is then analysed to identify the key issues and challenges encountered. The study identifies the benefits of reflective practice, explores the challenges and issues that act as barriers to reflective practice and highlights the importance of the role of the Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) and that of employers in supporting and developing reflective practice in one of the first SLMDA programmes to launch within the UK. Although reflective practice and work-based research have attracted considerable scholarly activity, investigations have overwhelmingly been focused upon professions such as teaching and nursing and have explored challenges and issues from the perspective of the provider. This study explores reflective practice from the viewpoint of learners, employers and PATs and thereby seeks to compliment and expand current understanding by developing a more holistic approach. This work will inform future programme design, practitioner skills development and employer support procedures as learners plan and prepare to facilitate work- based research projects within their organisations.
  • Exploring International Student Satisfaction in Private Higher Education Institutes in London

    Wall, Tony; Mehashwari, Vish; Qureshi, Fayyaz H. (University of Chester, 2020-07-29)
    In March 2019 the government of the United Kingdom developed a new strategy to strengthen Britain's leading role in the global higher education market, by aiming to increase the number of international students studying in the country by more than 30 per cent – which in turn would help to boost the income of educational exports to £35 billion (UK Government, 2019). The purpose of this study is to explore an understanding of international student satisfaction in institutions of private higher education in London, adding to the paucity of literature centred on international student satisfaction in private higher education in the UK in general and particularly in London. The private higher education sector in the United Kingdom is expanding rapidly, especially in London. An indicator of this is the number of private higher education institutions with degree awarding powers, which increased from only one private university to ten within less than a decade. Student satisfaction is a complex phenomenon and arguably related to or even extended from the concept of customer satisfaction, a relatively well-known concept in marketing literature. In higher education, only a few studies, mostly based on quantitative methods, are available within the subject area of student satisfaction. Furthermore, this existing body of work is limited to the public higher education sector. This is equally true for international students studying in private higher education institutions (PrHEIs) in London. This signifies the need to investigate thoroughly the perception and experience of international students studying at PrHEIs in London. The outcome of such a study should contribute to improving the quality of educational provisions not only in PrHEIs but also in public higher education institutions (PuHEIs). For this particular study, qualitative research was employed, by conducting twelve indepth interviews with international students to capture their experiences whilst measuring their levels of satisfaction, leading to the production of rich data. From this data, three themes emerged along with several subthemes; (1) Flexibility in policies - tuition fee policy, admission policy, multiple intakes and speedy admission processes, (2) Student friendly management- fast communication, a simple structure, quick decision making and easy access to senior management and (3) Feel being customers - customised service while the other significant existing themes such as course and institution selection, pre-arrival and arrival experience, learning & teaching , resources and overall satisfaction were matched to the expectations of the international students and findings in the literature. Recommendations were made particularly around emerging themes and subthemes in order to improve satisfaction by giving more value to student opinions and being more responsive to their needs and demands. This study further concludes that this can only be achieved if higher education (HE) considers students as customers. A need for further research was identified, to study more closely the relationship between new themes and subthemes and student satisfaction.
  • Transitions and student wellbeing in higher education: Exploring the role of Independent Learning Skills

    D'Artrey, Meriel; Wall, Tony; Rowlett, Debbie (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
    The number of reported mental health issues amongst university students continues to rise, affecting student attainment and progression. Within this context, this study explores students’ experiences of wellbeing during transition to university, specifically exploring the under-researched area of how Independent Learning Skills (ILS) and wellbeing interrelate. A novel conceptual framework combining aspects of ILS and wellbeing was constructed which then informed semi-structured interviews with university business school students and a Template Analysis. The study found a variety of ways in which the development of ILS and student wellbeing can be helped and hindered during transition to university, for example, how student and university practices appear to affect ILS and wellbeing. As such, this study sits in contrast to previous research in combining two areas not typically combined to examine student transition, offering new practical insights into supporting students. Key contributions that have been made as a result of this research include a deeper understanding of the relationship between specific ILS skills and specific elements of wellbeing. The experiences that students had were found to be inconsistent relating to academic support and these experiences both positive and negative were shown to mediate the relationship between ILS and wellbeing. Early experiences of the students were shown to have an anchoring effect on ILS and wellbeing, for example not engaging with support offered by their Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) was later shown to have hindered achievements and feelings of wellbeing. The diversity of learning needs and preferences identified from the research was also found to relate to students’ development of ILS and associated feelings of wellbeing. Further research has been identified that seeks to explore the relationship between ILS and wellbeing to specific student outcomes, including student grades, retention and progression outcomes.

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