Effective Learning Service: a developmental model in practice

Kate Figg, Chris McAllister, Angela Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the perceptions of users and non-users of the Effective Learning Service, a centralised learning support unit, in Glasgow Caledonian University. The paper specifically reviews different strands of research and feedback undertaken in the academic year 2004 / 2005, which aimed to evaluate usage, user satisfaction, staff and student perception of the service, in order to determine levels of success and areas for development.
Findings indicate that stakeholders of the service highly value the provision, especially the flexible delivery. Significantly, the typical user is female with a high proportion of mature and access students. There are also a significant proportion of international and dyslexic students. These categories, whilst recorded independently, overlap as most mature students, who attend ELS, are also female. However, whether all those in most need of support, currently access the unit remains a concern, as some students may not be able to identify their own learning needs or view support as indicative of failure. Usage also reveals high numbers of students from three schools out of the eight academic schools; namely, Caledonian Business School, Nursing and Midwifery and Health and Social Care.The ELS experience demonstrates that there is room for both centralised and departmental support, where learning skills are developed over time, as part of a wider process of personal, academic and professional development. Further research is needed to develop strategies that provide support in a range of ways to these different cohorts of students and more specifically to explore why male students tend not to use ELS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-52
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Access Policy and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • gender variation
  • learning skills
  • Effective Learning Service
  • learning support


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