Learning support literacy

Promoting independent learning skills and effective help-seeking behaviours in HE students

  • John Hamilton Deakin University


This paper proposes the concept of ‘learning support literacy’ (LSL), and explores what it might entail. It considers this in the context of providing one-to-one language and learning support to Higher Education (HE) students, seeking to identify key student behaviours and capabilities that contribute to effective and meaningful learning support consultations between students and Academic Language and Learning (ALL) advisers. In doing this it draws on the concept of ‘feedback literacy’ (Carless & Boud, 2018), the capacity to seek and make effective use of assessment-based feedback on performance, applying aspects of this to the academic learning support context. One-to-one learning support includes both face-to-face and technology-mediated consultations, for example those involving online, telephone or email interaction. The paper outlines five broad areas which may impact on student capacity to engage effectively with academic learning support: cultural capital, capacity for evaluative judgement (Boud, Ajjawi, Dawson & Tai, 2018), interpersonal skills, digital literacy and capacity for self-regulated learning (Panadero, 2017; Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006). It argues these represent a useful starting point in identifying factors influencing LSL. Some behaviours and attitudes that can limit student capacity to effectively access and utilise learning support services are also identified, as well as learning support practices themselves that may inadvertently reinforce dependent behaviours in students.

Author Biography

John Hamilton, Deakin University

Senior Language and Learning Adviser
Academic and Peer Support Services
Division of Student Life

How to Cite
HamiltonJ. (2020). Learning support literacy: Promoting independent learning skills and effective help-seeking behaviours in HE students. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 14(2), 69-76. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/627