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Learning theory and its application to female learner support in engineering

Fowler, L., Armarego, J. and Allen, M. (2001) Learning theory and its application to female learner support in engineering. In: Journeys in Leadership: Reflections, Redirections. 10th International Women in Leadership Conference, 14-15 Nov. 2001, Fremantle, W.A.

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School of Engineering at Murdoch University is now in its fifth year: a new School sited on the new regional Campus. This environment enabled the staff to take an innovative approach to the School's development. One key issue addressed from the outset was that of women in a nontraditional area.

Positive action was taken to attract high calibre female staff and as a consequence over 50% of the School's staff, academic and non-academic, are female. From the student perspective, issues confronting females studying in Engineering, which are reflected in international low recruitment and retention, continue to be addressed.

Individuals are different and these differences affect how a student performs. In particular, gender differences in learning styles have been noted. This has directed us to administer, as part of a first year foundational unit, learning style inventories to all first year students, who then identify their self-reported learning styles.

In this positive atmosphere many varied and successful initiatives, based on our learning style research, are being trialled to encourage female students into our programs and then support and retain them throughout their four years of study.

This research discusses the initial learning style results and their application to our initiatives.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering
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