Learner Diversity: An Exploration of the Inhibitors and Facilitators of Learning

Dr. Philip Frame,
Anna Kyprianou,
Richard Hartog,
Ms Jennifer O'Connor
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The paper will firstly outline the context in which this research has been undertaken, both in respect of the UK nationally, and of Middlesex University Business School, London. Secondly, the paper will outline our methodology which includes both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Our intention was to hear the "student voice". Accordingly, data, was obtained during their first few weeks here, and collected from new entrants (undergraduate and postgraduate). We feel confident that the experience relied on related to their pre-university activities. This work forms part of a larger, longitudinal study into the impact and management of student diversity. Our working definition of diversity utilised the university's typology, comprising of twelve domains, including religion, marital status, socio-economic status and family responsibilities. Nonetheless, we recognise that diversity is a highly contestable term. Our analysis will rank the twelve domains in respect of three key areas: overall perceived significance; the direction of impact: either positive or negative; no perceived impact at all. Our conclusions suggest ways in which we may enhance the positive and reduce the negative impact of diversity domains via a range of strategies, thereby addressing what Davis (2003: 244) recommends, when she notes that, as a result of increased student access universities "must take account of their diversity and ensure curriculum, student support, teaching practices and assessment methods are relevant" Additionally, we draw on the insights of Tierney (1993) whose work on building communities of difference in Higher Education in the twenty-first century provides us with a foundation for our own practice in respect of enhancing productive diversity within a multi-national student body, in a modern UK university.

Keywords: Student Voice, University Access, Productive Diversity
Stream: Nations, Nationalism, Communities, Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Which Diversity Domains Have Most Impact on Student Learning?

Dr. Philip Frame

Principal Lecturer in Organisational Development, Middlesex University Business School, Middlesex University, London

Anna Kyprianou

Middlesex University

Richard Hartog


Ms Jennifer O'Connor

Senior Lecturer, Middlesex University

Ref: D05P0190