A well designed induction is a vital part of the optimised student experience. Induction consists of a number of elements that need to be properly balanced and well integrated. Although induction clearly provides an opportuinity to pass to new students necessary information, it is important to avoid information overload. The real success of induction is to help students to feel they belong to their new place of study and assist them to make the bonds of friendship that will form a vital part of future peer support.
Having designed and implemented many induction events, we believe that induction should be broken down into two phases. The first of these can be concentrated into the week before teaching begins with a second phase extending into the first four weeks of teaching. This is the model that we have found to be most effective. Below you will find links to some of the materials that we have used to realise each of the two phases of induction.
Induction Phase One
The first phase of induction can be timetabled over a period of two or three days. The timetable should be very concentrated and start with an ice breaker activity where new students, who will study together, meet each other and also meet relevant members of staff. Opportunities to involve existing students, who have already completed the level the new students are entering, can be very helpful. The rest of the timetable should be a mixture of information sessions, diagnostics, presentations, group activities and workshops. We normally run two workshops on consecutive days with a mixture of activity and directed reading.
Workshop One On the first day we cover a general introduction to the programme of study using an activity called Good Start. Independent learning is promoted in the activity Learning Effectively and the important topic of time management is introduced to students during the final activity Time Management. We also give the students a number of handouts to read including a handout on Taking Notes, a handout on Improving Memory and a handout on Managing Your Time.
Workshop Two On the second day we dig down into the important area of goal setting using the Importance of Goal Setting activity. This activity is accompanied by a Goal Cards Template which the students are encouraged to use during the workshop. Students are then taken through a process of designing their own vision board using the Vision Boards activity. It is useful if this workshop takes place where students have access to the internet and can open and complete a draft of the Vision Board Template that they are given.
Induction Phase Two
The first three or four weeks of the student experience are very important and represent a high risk period where students can drop out of their studies. We therefore recommend extending phase one of induction into the early weeks of the taught student experience by timetabling weekly meetings of the class to run as mini one hour workshops. Each class meeting has a different theme including learning styles, an audit of the students’ skills, optimising lectures and optimising coursework. Reflection on Learning resource can be printed double sided and folded into a four page leaflet which the students can complete each week.