The effect of a learning skills course on college student involvement
Weinsheimer, Joyce Diane
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Among the National Institute of Education's contentions in its 1984 study on the conditions of higher education is that the quality of undergraduate education could be significantly improved by increasing student involvement. Involvement refers to the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the academic experience. In response to the NIE Study Group's challenge, this study assesses the effect of a learning skills course on college student involvement. Sixty-six students in Texas Tech University's College of Home Economics, divided into experimental and control groups, were pre- and posttested with C. Robert Pace's College Student Experiences questionnaire. The questionnaire, which measures student use of the major resources and opportunities for learning available on campus, provided a numerical measure of student involvement and student satisfaction as affected by the independent variable of this study, a learning skills course. Specifically, the study addresses the following questions: (1) Can a learning skills course enhance college student involvement? If so, on what types of involvement does it have the greatest impact? (2) What is the relationship between GPA and involvement? (3) What effect do demographic variables have on involvement? (4) Does the learning skills course have an effect on student satisfaction with the college experience? (5) What effect does the learning skills course have on intention to continue attending Texas Tech University? Using analysis of covariance, the study determined that participation in the learning skills course positively affected the areas of course learning, personal experiences, writing activities, dormitory or fraternity/ sorority activities, student acquaintances, and use of information in conversations. Furthermore, the study revealed a positive correlation between GPA and involvement with course learning and faculty, although findings were mixed for the relation between GPA and other activity areas. The demographic variable of age had no significant effect on involvement. Finally, though participants in the learning skills course expressed greater satisfaction with the college experience than did non-participants, significant differences did not exist between the experimental and control groups' expression of intent to continue attending Texas Tech.