Understanding Learning and Teaching: The Experience in Higher Education

Understanding Learning and Teaching: The Experience in Higher Education

Understanding Learning and Teaching: The Experience in Higher Education

Understanding Learning and Teaching: The Experience in Higher Education


How can university teachers improve the quality of student learning? Prosser and Trigwell argue that the answer lies in determining how students perceive their unique learning situations. In doing so they draw upon the considerable body of educational research into student learning in higher education which has been developed and published over the past three decades; and they enable university teachers to research and improve their own teaching.

This book outlines the key principles underlying successful teaching and learning in higher education, and is a key resource for all university teachers.


This book has several dimensions. It is above all a book for those who are interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education. It focuses on the students' experience of learning and links ideas from that research to the teachers' experience of teaching in higher education. In this respect, the book complements and bridges the messages in two of the more popular, current higher education texts. It contains an extension of the student learning research used to underpin the message in Learning to Teach in Higher Education (Ramsden, 1992) and it links the learning focus adopted in The Experience of Learning (Marton et al, 1997) with the experience of teaching. For university teachers it provides an approach to the scholarship of teaching and guidance on the application of scholarly ideas in university teaching.

While it is written from the same perspective as both the books mentioned above, its message differs from both in suggesting that the way forward is to focus more on learning and teaching situations while maintaining a focus on the quality of learning. This is not to say that we think the quality of learning is less important. As you will see, we believe it is of the utmost importance, as books such as those mentioned above have convincingly demonstrated. What we believe is needed, and what we hope to supply here, is some way of achieving that quality. Our approach is to address the relations between aspects of the students' experience of learning. These aspects include students' perceptions of their learning situation, their approach to learning, their prior learning experiences and their learning outcome. To do this, we draw heavily on the ideas in the recent text, Learning and Awareness (Marton and Booth, 1997).

This is also a book for those interested in what may underlie a range of teaching approaches, including teaching for distance learning, teaching in a culturally diverse context, and the uses of technology in teaching. Its content is related to, but not as specifically focused as Rethinking University Teaching: A Framework for the Effective Use of Educational Technology (Laurillard, 1993).

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