Student work and learning

Overview and expectations

Views on how material is most effectively learned may vary between (and within) disciplines and may also be dependent upon the nature of the learning that is intended; however, staff should be aware of credible theories of learning and should develop their own understanding based upon these theories, their own experience and that of their colleagues.

Staff should also understand the level at which to pitch their teaching and assessment and the level of typical student learning that can be expected.

Further, they should have an understanding of the structure and purpose of the curriculum as a whole so that they are clear on what it is safe to assume a student will know based on previous learning in other modules and from earlier in the programme, and what students will need to know to engage with future learning.

The York Pedagogy

From 2015/16, programmes at York will be aligned to the The York Pedagogy, and it is expected that staff will be alert to its underlying principles of student work and learning.

  • Students who understand the coherence of their programme, who know where they are going intellectually and why they are taking particular steps to get there, achieve more and are better satisfied.
  • The effectiveness of student private study is correlated with learning gain, highly variable between students, and often capable of significant improvement, even for the best students. Students often use inefficient private study methods such as re-reading. Carefully-designed student work can yield deep learning, collaboration and development of transferable skills. 
  • Assessment is a key driver of student work. Its effective design will ensure that, within the context of individual modules, student learning is still being supported in relation to programme learning outcomes. 
  • The quality of contact between academics and students is a key factor in supporting learning. Traditional ‘contact hours’ in lectures, seminars and labs, and asynchronous interaction, e.g. through electronic fora, all have their place, but timely and targeted close contact, for example to give feedback on student work, is particularly effective.