Exploring the impacts of policy changes on student approaches and attitudes to learning in contemporary higher education: implications for student learning engagement

We all speak of a changed learning environment, so the publication of this latest report from The Higher Education Academy seems very timely indeed. The text below is taken from the HEA’s page; please follow the link for the full report:


This research investigated how the shifting policy landscape, particularly in relation to fee increases, has affected students’ approaches to higher education. This study also sought to explore students’ views on the potential wider impacts and benefits of learning in higher education and what they valued from participating in higher education. It further explored how they perceived the learning experience and what they perceived to be valuable and positive teaching and learning experiences. This addresses the issue of what students value in formal learning, and how they would like this to be structured and delivered.

At a broader level, the study wanted to make connections to the wider context of policy development; namely, a more openly marketised higher education system that is also attended on a mass scale and operating in much less stable economic contexts. The study endeavoured to examine how the different policy arrangements in different national settings, including those where fee structures are lower than England, might influence students’ views. While the study was based on the views of a relatively small sample of students, some clear themes emerged in the interviews and focus groups which formed the core basis for the findings sections  in the main report.


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