Academic-Support Environment Impacts Learner Affect in Higher Education
Unlike university classrooms, academic support services provide students opportunities for enactive mastery of a skill with immediate feedback in a low-risk learning environment. Given that this environment likely alters affective states, this study tracked support-seekers’ perception (n=107) of their anxiety and confidence before and after repeated 1 hour academic skill development sessions (n=384). Results showed that academic-support environment had a robust, immediate, and long-lasting effect on decreasing anxiety and increasing confidence. Positive outcomes such as reduced anxiety and increased confidence during an academic skill development session were associated with increased academic performance. There was a high rate of participants (98%) persisting into the next year of their program. Together this study demonstrates that the academic-support environment can provide intervention in the form of enhancing affective states in situations of high anxiety and low confidence to potentially affect academic outcomes and retention rates.