A pre-post evaluation of an online career planning module on university students’ career adaptability
Keywords:higher education, career planning, graduate employability, e-learning
Indecisiveness and negative thinking regarding career pathways can hinder university students’ career planning, motivation, and mental health. Students intending to enter the workforce after graduation therefore need to develop skills related to career adaptability (i.e. career planning, decision-making, problem solving/confidence and exploration), particularly since career planning and construction is linked to gaining employment. This study aimed to test the effectiveness of an online career planning module on students’ career adaptability. The career-focussed online module, based on the constructs of Savickas’ (2005) theory of career construction, and tailored to students’ skills and interests, was developed and embedded into the University curriculum of a second-year exercise and public health-related unit. In 2018, 80 students completed the online module, along with pre- and post-intervention questionnaires assessing career adaptability elements including career planning, decision making, problem solving/confidence, and exploration. Dependent t-tests were conducted to assess differences in these measures pre- and post-intervention. Post-intervention, significant increases in career-planning strategies used (t(69)=5.45, p<0.001), career planning concern (t(69)=3.73, p<0.001), decision making (i.e. career path identification) (t(70)=3.86, p<0.001), decision making confidence (t(65)=2.69, p<0.01), and problem solving/confidence (t(65) = 2.16, p=0.03) were observed. Further, 80% of participants identified jobs at post-intervention not previously identified pre-intervention (exploration) and 71% of participants perceived improvements in confidence regarding job ideas/making career choices. Findings from this research indicated that completing a brief online career education module, tailored to an individual’s skills and interests, improved all dimensions of the participating students’ career adaptability. Further research utilising longer-term follow-up and randomised controlled trial designs are required to confirm the reliability and transferability of the findings.
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