Supporting learning beyond the classroom: developing the Northumbria Learner Support Model

Jane Core, Kathryn Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Academic Libraries traditionally offered support for a variety of information related queries. As the storage and delivery of information changed, libraries increasingly became involved in supporting students to use the new technologies and the widening focus of Higher Education to encompass the development of skills for life, added another new dimension. It was no longer enough simply to provide students with an answer but rather to support them to develop the skills to enable them to find answers themselves. The impact of the widening participation agenda meant that different levels and methods of support were required as standard and often over a 24x7 period. The deficit support model began to give way to a more holistic, collaborative view of student support within libraries and learning styles/ help seeking behaviours began to be taken into account (Weaver 2008). The ‘Learner Support Model’ was introduced by Library and Learning Services in 2004/5 as part of an overall strategy to enhance student learning, retention, performance and achievement. All students do not automatically have effective research, IT or study skills but those who do develop those skills will make increased use of high quality information sources, are liable to return better academic performances and are therefore more likely to complete their programmes. The generic nature of the support model ensures that students can access support wherever they are; in whatever discipline area they are working and at whatever time they need it. In the four years since the model was implemented it has moved from a theoretical ideal to a well subscribed support service handling around 90,000 enquiries per year. The Learner Support Model has been showcased at conferences, evaluated through feedback and now developed to a position where it can be extended to other services and student facing academic support areas of Northumbria University and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-31
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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