Engagement - researching learning

Researching engagement, ie learner behaviours and experiences
I can do my best to teach you, but I can't do the learning for you

Even the much maligned metaphor of the student as an empty vessel requires that they should open their mind for it to be filled. Thus, as many ministries of education have realised, student engagement is a sine qua non of effective education.

Engagement, subdivided into Experience and Employability. Experience is split into Student Retention, Widening Participation, Programme Satisfaction and Student Performance. Employability is split into Transferable Skills, Individual Skills Development and Co-curriculum

Click on the headings in the text below to find out more.


A lot of projects are concerned with the student journey from induction to graduation (and beyond). A valuable insight can be gained through "constructive alignment" (Biggs 1996). This means aligning assessments with desired learning outcomes (three essays in three hours is a limited life-skill), content (discipline and skills) with assessments (not random tricks of memory), student aspirations with content (they don't all want to join in your research into the role of double entry book-keeping in Marxist thought.)


It may be argued that higher education is not the same as vocational training and thus it is not our primary mission to make students employable, but it can hardly be argued that it is part of our job to make them unemployable. Increasing emphasis therefore is laid on the development of relevant skills. What are "relevant skills"? It is not our task to give employers what they want in graduates, but what they need, which imposes a greater responsibility for research and academic judgement than a tick-box questionnaire to employers.


Biggs, J., 1996. Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher education, 32(3), pp.347-364.

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