Exploring the impact of Learning Development on student engagement, experience and learning

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


The Learning Development (LD) team at the University of Northampton comprises specialist tutors who provide advice and guidance to all students on academic and study skills. This advice is delivered through one-to-one tutorials, embedded workshops, drop-in sessions and their online Skills Hub.  

A research project was initiated to ascertain the impact of their work. Measuring impact is challenging and is the perennial problem within the global Learning Development community.  

The project aimed to: 

assess student awareness of the service  

identify the reasons why students use LD, or choose not to use it

measure the effectiveness and impact of LD on the students who use the service compared to those who do not 

estimate the impact of the LD service on student retention

Over the period of an academic year several data collection methods were employed: reviewing longitudinal data from undergraduate student assessments (from 16,194 students) over three years; analysing a questionnaire with responses from over 250 current students taken from the entire student population; collating 161 questionnaires from students who have utilised the LD team and undertaking semi-structured interviews with current students.  

This chapter outlines the impact of the LD team upon student learning and academic development. It examines the importance of the role of a LD service, reviews the focus of the team upon aligning its work to that of faculty colleagues to ensure that academic skills are embedded in the curriculum. Finally, it puts forward an approach to measure the impact of Learning Development as a discipline on the retention and progression of UK HE students.  
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication University Development and Administration. Student Support Services
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-13-3364-4
ISBN (Print)978-981-13-3364-4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2021


  • Engagement
  • Learning Development
  • student experience


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