Do new first year students seek optimal distinctiveness in a new learning environment?

Pownall, Ian and Kennedy, Victoria and Acquaye, David (2019) Do new first year students seek optimal distinctiveness in a new learning environment? The International Journal of Management Education, 17 (2). pp. 254-266. ISSN 1472-8117

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The learning experience of the first year student joining Higher Education Institutions (HEI) can be examined from a number of perspectives and we focus upon the development of identity within that new learning environment. A conceptual framework is presented to argue that the tension between distinctiveness and social identification of the learner with the environment,
contributes to how the learner engages in that environment through their processing style. A supporting empirical analysis explores this argument for a small sample of new first year students in two UK HEIs studying business modules. We determine that students exhibit cognitive dissonance through exercising a dominant processing style that is not primarily seeking to identify with that learning environment whilst also recognising the benefits of a more engaged processing
style aligned with greater identification with their peer group. We propose therefore there is a need for the development of social identification capacity within new students.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in the International Journal of Management Education. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in the International Journal of Management Education, Vol 17, Issue 2, July 2019,
Keywords: Information processing style; optimal distinctiveness theory; student learner theory
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Geography and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Victoria Kennedy
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2019 08:24
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2019 08:24

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