Landing : Athabascau University

"Future time orientation predicts academic engagement among first-year " by Louise Horstmanshof and Craig Zimitat

A study recommended during a recent conference that I attended that looks into student retention and engagement as a function of temporal orientation. In brief, Time Perspective (TP) theory predicts that

"students who are confident of their abilities (Past Positive) and who believe that their efforts produce results (low Present Hedonistic) are more likely than those who do not, to work towards a future goal (Future) to which they are committed and with which they can identify. Thus, by harnessing their time perspectives, they are able to regulate their behaviour to persist with their studies to achieve their educational goals"

The well-conducted study confirms the hypothesis but goes into a lot more detail, differentiates issues much further, and comes to some sophisticated conclusions that show that it is interestingly complicated. There is no silver bullet, behaviours are hugely interdependent and contextually situated, and multiple and diverse intervention strategies are needed to support students on their learning journeys through a university. It also provides some useful hints about how to help students improve their chances. It's worth reading if you have any involvement with education, whether as a teacher or a learner. If you get overwhelmed by the tabular representations of the results of the study (thorough but turgid), after reading the theoretical background, skip to the discussion and implications sections.


  • Mary Pringle July 14, 2014 - 12:54pm

    Coincidence--I just watched "The Secret Powers of Time" on YouTube (RSA Animate)

  • Jon Dron July 14, 2014 - 1:08pm

    Serendipity is a wonderful thing! I love how simply sharing something here leads to more learning and connects ideas together. Thanks Mary.