Staff profiles

Project lead
Kaye Haddrill
Position
Project Officer (Teaching and Learning)
School/area
Business
Faculty/area
Education
Team member
Dr Michael Ovens

Project outline

This project will trial an online English language tool called Basic and Key Skills Builder (BKSB) which can assess, diagnose and build personalised learning programs for students to enable them to improve their English language skills. The UWA Business School is experiencing rapid growth in the numbers of international students. While these students have met the minimum English language requirements prior to being offered a place at the University, anecdotal evidence shows that their level of English proficiency is not high enough to allow them to participate effectively and benefit fully from their courses and to maximise employment opportunities in Australia post-graduation. Evidence from employer surveys overwhelmingly shows that communication skills are identified as the most important graduate skill.

The aim of the project is to embed and improve English language communication skills into the UWA student educational experience by introducing a scalable, English language e-learning platform designed to improve English language skills. Through this platform the goal is to implement a process which assesses, diagnoses and creates individual learning plans for students to improve their learning and to offer a self-managed resource which students can utilise in their own time.

The students will receive immediate and on-going feedback on their English language levels, and a personalised English language development program. In turn students will improve their engagement and achievement, thus improving their employment opportunities and participation in Australian society. Students' use, and language improvements will be monitored throughout the semester, and the product further evaluated with focus group studies.

Project findings

Over two semesters, this project made the online English language software BKSB available to over 100 students.  These students included international, WA students studying MGMT5610 (Applied Professional Business Communications) as a part of their post-graduate degree, and Chinese articulation students from Guangdong University of Finance and Economics resident in China whose English language levels did not meet UWA’s language requirements for entry. The project ran effectively, with feedback suggesting that the majority of students thought that the software did assist them with their English language acquisition.However one desired benefit was not achieved. It was hoped by the researcher that by offering “a self-managed resource which students can utilise in their own time” that students would self-manage their language improvement. Unfortunately this study has shown this is not the case, as students did not take opportunities to improve their English language unless there were marks or significant conditions to their enrollment attached.

Disseminations

  • Results of the Trial presented at the WA Teaching and Learning Forum, Curtin University, Perth 2016.
  • Presented at the Education Futures Conference and the WA Teaching and Learning Forum, Curtin University, Perth 2017.
  • Presenting results at the Teaching and Learning Forum, Curtin University, Perth 2018.


Further reading/links

Contact us