Trialling and evaluating a strengths-based learner engagement programme

Schools New Zealand

This collaboration project evaluated the outcomes of a strength based course called “My Voice”. Trialled across two PTEs and three secondary schools, this approach resulted in earlier engagement for learners (compared to a comparison group). Learners reported that the approach was associated with increased wellbeing and self-confidence. Tutors reported earlier learner engagement rates, increased motivation and higher aspirations among learners.
Learner engagement is crucial to success in educational programmes. However, actually engaging students in learning is a constant challenge for tertiary providers. Recognising the influence that tutors have in creating and encouraging positive learning experiences for learners, Trade and Commerce has adopted a strengths based approach to education, defined as: Tutors/teachers discovering, developing and applying their strengths in their teaching activities as they help their students do the same in their learning to achieve optimal levels of achievement. (Adapted from Anderson, 2004) Achievement NZ Ltd has designed an engagement framework, My Voice 1 • course engagement , which incorporates a strengths-based philosophy and activities into existing course curriculum.
My Voice helps learners focus on their abilities rather than their weaknesses, allowing them to understand themselves from a positive perspective. The framework also considers the influence of strengths on learner wellbeing, optimism and tutor relationships – important components of the learning experience.

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