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27 April 2009

Study shows diversity of student experience

International differences in the student experience, with a focus on the amount of time devoted to study, show a diversified student landscape, according to a report commissioned by HEFCE.

The study shows that the nature and extent of the way in which students engage with their studies varies considerably. These differences occur between individuals, and to some extent between the subjects studied and the kinds of institutions attended.

While the report shows that UK students spend fewer hours each week on their studies than other European students, it points out that this does not necessarily have a bearing on the quality of learning outcomes. It suggests that the tradition of greater autonomy in the UK student learning experience, and also the closing gap between full- and part-time may, in different ways, enhance the quality of learning.

A review of literature and the re-analysis of existing data collected as part of two recent studies informed the report. The resulting analysis makes an important contribution to the debate about the student experience, and will help inform continuing thought about quality assurance arrangements.

'Diversity in the student learning experience and time devoted to study: a comparative analysis of the UK and European evidence' was produced for HEFCE by the Open University's Centre for Higher Education Research and Information.