Higher Education and the Future of Graduate Employability
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Higher Education and the Future of Graduate Employability

A Connectedness Learning Approach

Edited by Ruth Bridgstock and Neil Tippett

This book challenges the dominant ‘employability skills’ discourse by exploring socially connected and networked perspectives to learning and teaching in higher education. Both learning and career development happen naturally and optimally in ecologies, informal communities and partnerships. In the digital age, they are also highly networked. This book presents ten empirical case studies of educational practice that investigate the development of learner capabilities, teaching approaches, and institutional strategies in higher education, to foster lifelong graduate employability through social connectedness.
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Chapter 4: Connectedness capabilities of non-traditional students: pedagogical implications1

Margarietha J. de Villiers Scheepers, Joanna McIntyre, Gail Crimmins and Peter English

Abstract

New career paradigms require non-traditional students to develop their professional networks using social media, yet few use this opportunity. As career choices in regional areas are limited, the capability to connect in this manner is critical. We examine the connectedness capabilities of 210 non-traditional students. We find that students with work experience are more likely to have a professional profile, while students with part-time work experience are likely to use social media for non-professional purposes. First-year students are unsure of the benefits of professional networks, while final year students who have participated in work-integrated learning, have more confidence in their connectedness capabilities. Pedagogically, educators need to support students to develop their career competencies by influencing career aspirations and developing students’ self-efficacy, encouraging peer learning, utilising learning activities that facilitate the assessment of career competencies, as well as encouraging students to strengthen, maintain and leverage professional connections through work-integrated learning.

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