The student learning experience in higher education

The changing nature of higher education (HE), which entails a constantly changing composition of students learning in HE, was the most important starting point for this Review.

Therefore, the concept of ‘learning experience’ must be regarded as a dynamic one. Also, subjects in HE and the knowledge associated with these subjects is in a process of flux. Consequently we adopted a historical perspective in order to ascertain the extent to which conceptualisations of learning (and teaching), and the consequences these conceptualisations have on student experience in HE, have changed and adapted to meet the needs of a changing student body. This literature Review, in addition to considering in detail the nature of the student learning experience, also focused on the changing conceptualisation of ‘student learning’ in HE and the methods used to investigate student learning and experience. Against this background the investigation and representation of the HE experience of students in the relevant literature were traced, analysed and mapped.

To achieve this, our proposal developed an innovative, iterative review methodology for selecting and evaluating research based on its relevance, internal coherence and the extent to which theory and practice are linked. This was informed by the EPPI Centre’s work on systematic reviewing.

This literature review was funded by the Higher Education Academy, and led by Hubert Ertl and Geoff Hayward. To download a copy, click here.