Student induction/orientation: From event to entitlement

Mark Schofield*, Andrew Sackville

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The process of induction (orientation) is a key factor in providing a quality learning experience for students, yet it is only in the last decade, when student drop-out rates have been rising, that this topic has been receiving the attention that it deserves. This paper reflects on the development of induction processes in the United Kingdom, and focuses on practices in one university over a period of sixteen years and its increasing orientation towards induction for learning as a new university student. Initially it explores dimensions of induction - academic, administrative and social, and the challenges these pose for faculty and learning support services that have a responsibility for induction. It emphasises the need for co- operation between faculty, administrators and existing students in developing effective support networks for 'new' students. The paper then moves on to examine various models of induction which have been tried and explores the potential of Virtual Learning Environments and other social networking (Web.2.0) environments to support social and academic components of induction 'to' and 'through' university study. Induction is linked into the related processes of retaining students and of assisting students in personal developmental planning. The need to move from a one-off event to an embedded process that continues through a student career is highlighted. Particular attention is given to social and academic components of acculturation of students in their first year of university. Induction, student success and retention continue to persist as priorities and have permeated the higher education agenda in the UK as reflected in commissioned reports and reviews from the Higher Education Academy (Yorke and Longdon, 2008, Harvey et al, 2006). An outline for a framework of entitlement to induction experiences with a particular focus on the first year is proposed, derived from our critical analysis and evaluation of practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-124
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Learning
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2010


  • Induction
  • Learning
  • Orientation
  • Transitions


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