Preliminary Findings of the Needs Perceived and Expectations of Users of an Independent Learning Centre Survey in Hong Kong: What do They Tell Us?
Keywords:Independent Learning, Higher Education, Independent Learning Effectiveness, Education in Hong Kong, Learning Support
The Independent Learning Centre (ILC) has a long history in the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Being unique in many ways, both within the university and in Hong Kong as an independent support unit on campus, we support all students, namely undergrads and postgrads, in their academic pursuit, career preparation, as well as whole-person and global awareness development through non-formal education. In other words, the ILC does not touch students’ grade point average (GPA) directly, but has an undeniable and direct impact on CUHK students’ learning experiences and well-being by complementing their formal education and supporting their language and communication skills both in English and Chinese in the context of Hong Kong. We offer both academic and work-related workshops (2 hours long), conduct individual and group consultations, and we develop online learning resources on our own or in collaboration with colleagues from other units such as the University Library, and the Office of Student Affairs to address students’ diverse learning needs. Evaluation of our services and resources is conducted after every student encounter face-to-face, and through the online means. In general, students are very satisfied with what we have been offering, and think our Centre is an important piece of puzzle in their learning jigsaw. But despite this, no formal survey on students’ views about independent learning has been conducted since our inception. The ILC, therefore, conducted our very first survey in 2022 among all students in the CUHK on their perception of the learning needs, and their expectations of independent learning support that the university should provide in face of the challenges, both local and global, ahead of them. Our paper will present both our quantitative and qualitative survey results, students’ comments, as well as the implications for a centre like ours, and other similar centres in the region and across the world.