Holistic education

June 20, 2013

Should “study skills” be taught? Graham Gibbs has his reservations, arguing that the best way to “improve” students is to do so through a better understanding of the nature of knowledge within specific disciplines (“Self-reflective improvement”, Teaching intelligence, 30 May).

We agree that a purely functional approach to study skills devoid of context is not enough. The term “learning development” has gained currency in recent years as a more holistic way to support students in mastering the literacies, discourse and practice of academic study.

The Association for Learning Development in Higher Education, through its annual conference, peer-reviewed journal, working groups and online forums, not only shares and evaluates models of good practice but also aims to conceptualise and professionalise the work of learning development.

In acknowledging the transformative power of education for individuals and society, learning developers are not dogmatic about the best approach to supporting students. We help to embed academic skills into the curriculum, articulate and model academic conventions, offer programmes of one-to-one support and peer mentoring, but also recognise that a timely, targeted “study skills” intervention delivered by an impartial and experienced outsider might on occasion be just the ticket to re-engage and energise a particular cohort of students.

Gibbs’ reflection on the nature of “study skills” adds to the debate already being held on a daily basis within the learning development community. Readers are invited to visit our website to find out more about our work, read our online journal, browse our LearnHigher resources, join as members and participate with more than 700 others in our growing online discussion list.

David Bowers
Secretary of the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education
University Campus Suffolk

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

man with frozen beard, Lake Louise, Canada

Australia also makes gains in list of most attractive English-speaking nations as US slips