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Theme: Transition and Adjustment

The "role" of an Effective Learner Programme (ELP) on
'Approaches of Studying' of First-year students in the
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Winnie Tang, Educational Development Unit
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hong Hong
Annie Kwok, Department of Maritime Studies
Kai-shui Lau, Department of Applied Physics
Winnie Lee, Student Affairs Office

The purpose of this study is to examine the changes of the 'Approaches of Studying' of two groups of students in two departments in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University before and after they have attended an Effective Learner Programme (ELP). The main objective of the ELP is to improve the quality of students' learning in their early stage of university study. The programme consisted of five two-hour workshops, which were meant to prepare students to be more independent learners and encourage them to adopt a deep study approach.

Study approaches of students were measured by using the Study Process Questionnaires (SPQ) (Biggs 1987), the results of SPQ showed that there was no change of the "surface approach" for both groups of students. In this aspect, the ELP was successful in reducing the negative impact of tertiary education. On the other hand, the scores for "deep approach" fell for one group and those for the "achieving approach" fell for both groups. Based on these results, the ELP cannot achieve its intended objective as to enhance deep approach to students' study. The main reason may be the period of the study was too short for students to change their attitude of studying.

Evaluation of the ELP were by questionnaires after each workshops and interviews after the whole ELP. Responses to both contents and methods of delivery of ELP had been very positive and encouraging. A large proportion of students indicated that they benefit from ELP, which gave them more positive view about themselves, their courses and the university. Students found the workshops on "Examination and Assessment", "Time Management" and "Forming Study Groups" most useful. They showed more interest on sessions if that were conducted by lecturers from their own departments and on topics related to their discipline.

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