Awakening the Learner Within: Purposeful Prompts and Lifelong Learning Measures in a First-Year Composition Course

Tara Moore, Suzanne C. Shaffer


Lifelong learning skills have been shown to benefit students during and after college. This paper discusses the use of the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) in a first-year composition course. Reflective writing assignments and pre- and post-semester ELLI data were used to assess student growth as lifelong learners over the course of a semester. Statistically significant gains in lifelong learning dimensions were made by students in the study as compared to those in a control group who received no direct instruction. The authors reflect on the outcomes of the project for students and instructors and question the general assumptions often made about the outcomes of a college education, namely, whether students gain lifelong learning skills simply by virtue of attending college, or is more instruction on these “intangible” qualities needed?


lifelong learning; reflection; first-year composition; resilience; ELLI; change; growth; assessment

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ISSN 1527-9316