Purdie, Fiona, McAdie, Tina M., King, Nigel and Ward, Lisa J. (2011) Learning beyond the lecture room: Do placements help students learn about themselves and for themselves? In: British Psychological Society - Psychology of Education Conference, 18th - 20th November 2011, Preston, UK. (Unpublished)

Learning in the workplace, particularly through placements and internships, is increasingly recognised as a means to enhance and advance the skills, knowledge and competence that students develop in an academic setting (e.g. Bates, 2008; Boud & Falichikov, 2006; Costley, 2007; Crebert et al., 2004). However, the psychological outcomes of work integrated learning are not yet fully established and have also been contested by some (Allen & van der Velden, 2007). Aim. In this emerging area of research interest, the study aimed to determine whether differences in self-concept, self-efficacy, hope, and motivation exist between students who have taken part in a placement versus those who have not. Methodology. The following valid and reliable measures were collected, post placement, from a large sample (n=956) of undergraduate students: Trait Hope Scale (Snyder et al., 1991); Self-Description Questionnaire III (Marsh & O’Neill, 1984), a measure of self-concept; College Academic Self-Efficacy Scale (Owen & Froman, 1988); Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (Pintrich et al., 1993), a measure of study skills and motivation. The methodology utilised for this study was designed by Drysdale et al. at the University of Waterloo (Canada), who led an international comparative research study of which our study forms a part. Results. Students who participate in placements had significantly higher trait hope, agency, and lower test anxiety than their non-placement counterparts. However, there appeared no significant differences in the way in which placement and non-placement students approached their studies, in terms of study skills or the degree of procrastination reported.

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