Students and Learning Advisors connecting?

Impact on student retention and success


  • Fiona Breen Wellington Institute of Technology
  • Dr Mervyn Protheroe Wellington Institute of Technology



Tertiary education, learning advising, student retention


Previous large scale studies in a New Zealand university setting have not shown conclusively that learning support has had a positive effect on student outcomes (Acheson, 2006).  This is at counterpoint to evidence about outcomes for tertiary students with learning disabilities where attendance at learning centres in addition to classes has been shown to have a positive effect on student retention and success (Troiano, Liefeld & Trachtenberg, 2010). A study funded by the Ministry of Education indicates a mixture of factors that point to successful student outcomes (Prebble, 2004), where other students testify to individual ‘one-off’ programmes that have enabled students to succeed (Bail, Zhang & Tachiyama, 2008). There is no eveidence to suggest that any research has been conducted concerning the core work of Learning Advisors (LAs) in a tertiary context over a whole academic year. This paper considers a whole year’s cohort at WelTec to show how effective students are in their courses with or without learning advice, using quantitative data to demonstrate the effectiveness of learning advice for enhancing students’ retention and success.

Author Biographies

Fiona Breen, Wellington Institute of Technology

Team Leader, Learning Services

Dr Mervyn Protheroe, Wellington Institute of Technology

Tutor, Learning Services