Mechanisms for promoting the development of cognitive, social and affective graduate attributes

Kember, David; Hong, Celina; Yau, Vickie; Ho, Shun
November 2017
Higher Education (00181560);Nov2017, Vol. 74 Issue 5, p799
Academic Journal
The aim of this study was to help universities promote graduate attributes by investigating mechanisms for promoting the development of cognitive, social and affective attributes which could impact upon all undergraduate students. Small group interviews were conducted with 90 final year students at a university in Hong Kong. Interview transcripts were coded for statements relating to 13 attributes. Five categories of mechanism existed: subject-independent teaching and learning activities, which provide practise in the use of the attribute; immersion in a rich campus environment; holding a value; subject-dependent mechanisms; and, participation in an overseas exchange. These five mechanism categories were then cross-tabulated against the 13 attributes, ranked in order of student perceptions of their development. Subject-independent learning activities were the most effective mechanism, followed by exposure to a rich campus environment. For a wide range of attributes to be nurtured effectively, the curriculum and co-curriculum need to be regarded holistically.


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