What Skills are Learned at College?

Views of College Students and Working Adults


  • Tanya Martini Brock University
  • Lorenzo Frangella Maastricht University
  • Meghan Vandervlist Brock University




University skills, communication, critical thinking, leadership, teamwork


Though academics and employers have demonstrated increasing interest in the skills learned by university students, less is known about student perceptions of the skills developed during a degree. In the current study, we examined students’ and working adults’ beliefs about the skills learned and not learned during their first degree. We also examined each group’s ability to define four career-related skills (communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership), and their self-evaluations of those skills. Data indicated very few differences in the beliefs of students and working adults about skills learned and not learned at university. In addition, the skills most frequently endorsed as “learned” and “not learned” were very similar to one another. Contrary to expectations, there were few group-based differences in the quality of skill-based definitions. In keeping with the hypotheses, there were no group-based differences in self-assessments of skills. Implications of these results for university courses and programs are discussed. 


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How to Cite

Martini, Tanya, Lorenzo Frangella, and Meghan Vandervlist. 2021. “What Skills Are Learned at College? : Views of College Students and Working Adults”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 9 (2). https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.9.2.16.