Life Beyond The Classroom: Helping University Students Become Effective Independent Learners

  • Craig Bartle

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This research employs a Glaserian grounded theory methodology to identify and address students' and lecturers' conflicting assumptions about the concept of independent learning at a UK University. Despite an ideal scenario emerging during the research, suggesting that students become truly independent learners when they can decide, assess and adapt their approaches to learning without external guidance, students at the case study institution frequently transitioned into higher education without the acumen to make such decisions. Furthermore, the research found that lecturers' expectations of students' approaches to independent learning varied and depended on their subjective interpretations of the term, which students reported as confusing. An appropriate solution for this knowledge gap could not be identified in the literature. This thesis addresses this shortcoming by exploring how lecturers can motivate their students to learn away from the classroom and provide them with the knowledge required to become effective independent learners by incorporating independent learning guidance within modules and tailoring it to their cohorts’ needs. This research is significant to the higher education sector because it demonstrates the benefits of incorporating guided independent learning into the curriculum. The findings also explain the importance of tailoring independent learning skills guidance to individual student cohorts so the guidance is relevant and clear. The study provides a set of recommendations and a surveying tool to help lecturers provide guidance, even where opportunities for lecturer-student interaction are limited. Thus, helping lecturers to provide the knowledge and independent learning skills students need to become truly independent learners as they progress within their chosen disciplines
    Date of AwardOct 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorCaroline Wilson (Supervisor), Christine Broughan (Supervisor) & Arinola Adefila (Supervisor)

    Cite this