Research has suggested some ways to measure student motivation and a set of questions has been developed for a student questionnaire and focus group meeting. Students may be amotivated (Hoskins and Newstead, 2009), sometimes as a result of experiences on their courses and it is worth investigating this in my own students. Hoskins and Newstead (2009) suggested that ‘poor feedback and support may promote mediocrity’ and that if students perceive tasks to be ‘vocationally relevant’ then those tasks have a higher value and can be more motivating. They also highlighted the problem of high workload and its effect on students’ tendency to adopt a deeper approach to their learning. This factor must be considered when measuring levels of motivation as there could be a correlation between levels of motivation when a task is being carried out in isolation and when a task is being completed alongside a number of other tasks of equal importance to their success on their course.
With reference to employer engagement, barriers to participation in skill development for employers from SMEs could be similar to those identified by Kerr and McDougall (1999) in connection with training participation by employees of SMEs. These included:
- the level of bureaucracy involved
- the lack of available employee time
- lack of management experience
SMEs showed a preference for informal training in a study by Anderson et al (2001) and this type of training was characterised by feedback, experience, social interaction between individuals and organisations. Johnston and Loader (2003) illustrated a half-day training model that appealed to SME employers due to its half-day workshop model and its low cost. The cost was kept low by the course provider by keeping to a half day and by opening the course to other interested parties and delivering it in an educational establishment rather than at the employer’s premises. The course was also completely stand-alone requiring no further commitment unless wanted. Again, lessons can be learnt from this model in terms of the sort of activity an employer might be willing to be involved in with full-time college students. If it is short, has low costs in terms of time and expenses, is open to the employers own employees as well as college students and does not represent an ongoing commitment, then it may prove attractive to the employer, who might then be more willing to be involved.