There is increasing interest in the role of independent learning (IL) in higher education (Thomas, 2015). Indeed, several studies demonstrate the significant impact of IL on students' academic achievement (Difrancesca et al. 2016) and retention in higher education (Robbins et al. 2006). There is, however, no simple definition of IL (McKendry and Boyd, 2012), and many students fail to understand what is expected of them. The aim of this study was to explore students' levels, understanding and style of IL, and its relationship to their academic performance. A quantitative survey approach was employed. 123 students were recruited via opportunistic sampling and completed an online JISC survey. Whilst the majority of students considered themselves to be an IL (74%), had heard of the term (85%) and understood what IL was, 82% erroneously believed it meant learning on their own. In terms of IL strategies, students were most likely to employ Elaboration and Time Management, and least likely to use Self Regulation and Rehearsal. Further, results indicated that "A grade" students engaged in significantly more IL and used more strategies of rehearsal than "B grade" students.
FORBES-MCKAY, K. BREMNER, P. and JOHNSTON, P. 2022. Enhancing our understanding of independent learning amongst RGU students. Presented at the 2022 RGU annual learning and teaching conference (RGU LTC 2022): enhancing for impact, 21 October 2022, Aberdeen, UK.