The impact of pedagogies of partnership on the student learning experience in UK higher education: a psychological perspective.

Regina Pauli-Jones, Brett Raymond-Barker, Marcia Worrell

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


Engaging students-as-partners can serve to enhance the learning experience in Higher Education and is thought to be beneficial with regard to personal development, employability, and the development of graduate attributes. However, evidence for the effectiveness of this claim in the UK is largely based on anecdotal accounts and/or small scale studies focusing on student engagement as an outcome variable (Trowler, 2010). There is also a paucity of evidence regarding how alumni view these activities in hindsight in considering their post-graduation experiences of employment or further education. We aim to increase our understanding of pedagogical approaches that foster partnership by taking a new approach to research in this area. Firstly, by defining students-as-partners approaches with regard to methodologies, rather than values, allowing for the concept to be operationalised without regard for partners’ understanding of the philosophical principles; and secondly, by investigating these experiences both in relation to a range of outcome variables (Strand 1 - graduate attributes, psychological literacy, skills confidence, integrity, critical thinking, interactional diversity, global citizenship, and self-determined academic motivation); and in light of post-graduation experiences (Strand 2). The project proceeds from a base in Psychology, and uses the tools of the discipline to provide evidence of the impact these pedagogies have on student learning. Students across all years of study, and alumni graduating in the last four years, were recruited from two, post-1992 London based universities to take part in a questionnaire-based or Q-methodological study respectively. Results from undergraduate students support the hypothesis that students-as-partners experience has an effect on outcome measures related to graduate attributes and employability, although we found no effect over measures of personal development. Results from alumni add further support to this finding, confirming the long-term value of students-as-partners experiences in relation to employment and further study. The findings present clear implications for teaching and learning practice. We offer an empirically validated measure of students-as-partners experience which can be used to track progress towards implementing partnership practices. We also provide several recommendations for working towards greater partnership with students, particularly in relation to assessments and experiential learning; and identify avenues for future research in this area.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherHigher Education Academy
Commissioning bodyHigher Education Academy
Number of pages72
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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