An introduction to the LEC

The LEC was developed by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in 2004, and was implemented at the NMMU as from June 2006.

The LEC Programme is a proactive counselling initiative tailored towards individual as well as faculty-based group assessment and intervention services.

It is a 4-phase programme, starting with assessment and culminates in a personalised success plan for each student.

Phase 1

Online assessment (group-administered).

  • The LEC was developed in response to the recognition that the use of accurate assessment tools would be an essential component of any effective learning enhancement programme.

Phase 2

Online reporting

  • Individualised feedback reports (which can be printed immediately post-assessment for the client to reflect on prior to the feedback session).
  • Summary profile reports provides a comprehensive overview which can be used
    • as needs assessment data
    • for strategic planning purposes

Phase 3

Individual or group feedback sessions

  • Personalised "Roadmap to Success" workbook for the client provides a menu of resources and support. This is integrated into the counselling feedback process.

Phase 4


  • Students are encouraged to take responsibility for facilitating their own growth by utilising the recommended resources. In addition to this, they can be supported in counselling monitoring sessions where appropriate.

The above approach can be used both developmentally as well as remedially.

When used developmentally, the holistic approach utilised enables students to become self-regulated learners in all areas of their life, thus promoting empowerment and growth through awareness.

What is it?

  • A computerised assessment and reporting system
  • An early warning intervention strategy
  • A diagnostic tool - problem identification
  • A developmental tool – identification of growth areas

Why use it?

  • to increase counselling capacity (group management)
  • to enable faculty support of at–risk students
  • to contribute towards increased retention and throughput
  • to make use of a holistic approach in designing interventions
  • to assist students to identify problems independently
  • to operationalise perceptions in order to redefine the referral problem
  • to facilitate collaborative partnerships and maximise a cooperative referral system within the institutional context

What are the expected outcomes for the counsellor?

  • Greater insight into the holistic nature of student issues.
  • Increased manageability of large groups in terms of assessment and feedback.
  • Shortened time spent on intake sessions.
  • Increased relevance of workshops on offer to faculties.
  • Being able to work therapeutically with academically-related issues.
  • Witnessing a shift from paralysis to action-oriented student-initiated behaviour.

What are the expected outcomes for the student?

  • Greater insight into the holistic nature of student issues.
  • Self-identification of problem areas
  • Increased ownership of the development process.
  • Increased self-responsibility and self-efficacy for academic success.
  • Awareness of academic support network as well as other facilities / resources around campus.
  • Maturity in study management.
  • Awareness of portable / transferable life skills that need to be developed further in order to cope (e.g. problem-identification, goal setting, planning, time management).
  • Personal growth / development.

What are the expected outcomes for institutional stakeholders?

  • The LEC serves as an early warning intervention strategy through which faculties can support their at–risk students and thereby increase retention and throughput.
  • It can provide lecturers with additional insight into a particular student or group of students.
  • It can provide a needs assessment profile of a particular group upon request.
  • It can provide a profile regarding financial needs that can be shared with support services e.g. Financial Aid,
  • It can inform policy formulation regarding language issues.
  • It can consequently also make a meaningful contribution towards increased retention and throughput.

Two conference paper presentations about the LEC, can be downloaded from the links on the bottom of this page.

How can other institutions for Higher Education access it?

Steps to take:

    • Purchase the LEC
    • Purchase the training
    • Complete the design of your Student Counselling Retention Programme!

Current users in South Africa:

  • University of Kwazulu Natal (Howard College)

KZN - Howard College

The UKZN Howard College team trained in the use of the LEC - 2010

“We found the training beneficial and are hoping that the LEC will help to manage the referral load we are receiving from the Humanities' faculty as well as it providing the objective measure to guide both staff and students in the matter of retention and monitoring.”

View feedback from Aliya Vaid, a faculty-linked counsellor at UKZN
  • University of Kwazulu Natal (Pietermaritzburg Campus)

KZN PMB Group Trained in use of LEC - 2009

The UKZN PMB team trained in the use of the LEC – 2009

"On behalf of the Director and staff of the Student Counselling and Careers Centre (SCC) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus (UKZNP), I would like to convey our thanks to Ruth Connelly and Dalray de la Harpe for training on the LEC, learning styles, time management and motivation. The training was a tremendous success, and offered participants a unique opportunity to reflect on their practices, work together as a team, and acquire the use of an instrument that will potentially have numerous applications in the UKZN context. We look forward to liaising with Ruth and Dalray as we work towards the implementation of the LEC at UKZN. As I am sure you are aware, Ruth and Dalray are both exceptional facilitators, who display impressive levels of passion, insight and drive for their work. Ruth and Dalray, who are undoubtedly invaluable members of your counselling team at NMMU, went beyond what was expected from them, and inspired counselling staff at UKZN in several personal and professional ways. Thank you for assisting with setting up this training, and kindly convey our gratitude to Ruth and Dalray. Yours sincerely, Nicholas Munro, Senior Student Counsellor, Student Counselling and Careers Centre"

  • Northlink FET College (Cape Town)

Northlink group trained in Feb 2009

The Northlink FET College team trained in the LEC – 2009

  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Port Elizabeth)

Student Counselling Staff

Student Counselling, Career and Development Centre Staff - December 2010

Feedback from a Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee Chairperson “It is encouraging to know that Student Counselling uses the LEC as an early-warning intervention to empower and support at-risk students so that they are enabled to manage their difficulties and thereby increase their retention and throughput rates. Your findings support the NMMU audit implementation plan and Vision 2020 goals for the recognition and monitoring of at-risk students.”

Who can I contact for more information?

Ruth Connelly: (Tel: 041 – 504 3222 / cell: 084 9234569)

Dalray de la Harpe: (Tel: 041 – 504 3222 / cell: 082 300 7346)

Contact information
Ms Dalray Gradidge
SCCDC Coordinator: Research and Development
Tel: 0415043624