Pitfalls in the development of generic attributes in undergraduate students

Watters, James J. (2000) Pitfalls in the development of generic attributes in undergraduate students. In Appleton, K., MacPherson, C., & Orr, D. (Eds.) Lifelong Learning Conference: Inaugural International Lifelong Learning Conference, Yeppoon., 16-19 July, Yeppoon, Central Queensland, Australia.

PDF (51kB)


The role of universities has always been a hotly contested issue. What does society expect of institutions of higher learning? The conceptual foundations of traditional disciplines are changing so rapidly that knowledge is refuted and revised before it reaches the printed press. A response to this situation advocates a refocusing on the more process-oriented knowledge elements that involve higher order thinking, communication, affect and developing capabilities that people will need to possess to cope with work and leisure in an information society. Are and can these knowledge components be learnt in universities? This paper explores how students might engage in learning experiences that enable development of discipline specific generic capabilities and lifelong learning. The study reports on two case studies of undergraduate teaching contexts that purported to develop generic attributes in undergraduate students. Data collection involved classroom observations, interviews, and surveys with students and lecturers. The outcomes have been analysed in terms of the types of instructional practices that need to be undertaken to ensure that initiatives do actually impact on the more global skills identified as generic attributes. Of particular significance in the results was the role that lecturers need to play in developing student awareness of the importance of generic attributes and facilitating the development of these attributes.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

379 since deposited on 28 Jun 2006
11 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 3466
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Higher education, generic capabilities, graduate qualities, authentic learning, lifelong learning, undergraduate physics education, journalism education, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 28 Jun 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:30

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page