Student perceptions of teaching and learning within undergraduate education programmes

This research aims to identify what undergraduate students in the School of Education perceive to be good teaching and learning and to consider the implications of these perceptions for how students experience and view their undergraduate education.

Currently in higher education, students are asked to evaluate their teaching and learning experiences through module evaluation forms, programme level questionnaires and the National Student Survey (NSS). While these provide some valuable information, they do not always give a deeper understanding of students’ expectations and experiences of higher education and how these align with what they perceive to be ‘good’ teaching and learning.

Through a series of focus groups, this research has gathered accounts of students’ experiences of teaching and learning on their undergraduate programmes, what they view as ‘good’ teaching and learning and how these perceptions relate to their expectations of higher education.

The initial findings show the importance of a sense of connection at a cognitive, social and emotional level. This includes enabling students to make links with new content and previous knowledge and to make sense of new learning through engagement and collaboration with tutors and other students. The findings also show the significance of feeling supported and feeling someone cares, to students’ overall teaching and learning experience. 

In the short term, the research findings will identify ways of improving the undergraduate student experience in areas of teaching and learning. They have given us ideas for module and lecture planning as well as insights into ways of humanising the learning experience so that students feel a greater sense of belonging.  In the longer term, the findings will help us to build better partnerships in teaching and learning with our students.