Neurodiversity in vocational education: Facilitating success

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van Gorp, Rachel
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Professional Practice
Otago Polytechnic
Ker, Glenys
Forsyth, Glenys
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
tertiary education
neurodiverse students
learning differences
inclusive education
vocational education
student success
van Gorp, R. (2022). Neurodiversity in vocational education: Facilitating success. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice). Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand.
RESEARCH AIM The aim was to explore how lecturers can create successful learning experiences for neurodiverse learners that not only include but take account of their challenges and utilise and enhance the capabilities that neurodiverse learners bring to the learning and teaching environment. ABSTRACT My professional practice area is as a lecturer in business education at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand. I am also a neurodivergent learner who has observed and experienced several challenges that learners like myself face, not the least of which is a lack of awareness and practical strategies among tertiary lecturers. I believe there is an important professional practice challenge that needs to be addressed. Therefore, I am undertaking this project to explore how tertiary lecturers can create learning experiences that address the challenges faced by neurodiverse learners and utilise and enhance the capabilities they bring to their learning journey. As part of the research phase, thirteen participants took part in a semi-structured interview, five learners, six lecturers, and two experts. From the responses I collected from each group of participants (appendix 3), I identified four clear themes that were subsequently analysed based on the responses. As a result of this study, I have developed some tools and strategies designed to aid learners, lecturers, and support staff in their educational journey. As an outcome of my project, I aim to make explicit the challenges that neurodiverse learners face and to provide practical strategies for lecturers to enhance learner success. The intended output of my project will be a set of guidelines for both neurodiverse learners and lecturers. This project is an essential step in my professional journey towards becoming a specialist lecturer and advocate for neurodiverse learners.
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