Learning Gain Pilot Project
New College Durham is currently part of thirteen pilot projects funded by HEFCE. The project is being led by The Manchester College and will look at learning gain. It aims to develop and test new ways of capturing educational outcomes and analysing how students benefit from higher education.
The project involves fourteen colleges and is longitudinal in nature. It will follow new higher education students from the start of their programme right up until its completion. Initial data was gathered for the 2016/17 intake and these measures will be repeated with the same students during the 2017/18 and 2018/19.
Ultimately, the project hopes to demonstrate the significant learning gain that is made by higher education students who choose to complete their education within a college setting. The three years of data gathering and analysis should help to identify key characteristics, behaviours and variables that contribute to this learning gain that will then allow practitioners to further tailor their approaches to learning and teaching.
For the purpose of this project, learning gain has been defined as ‘the accumulated acquisition and interaction of skills, competencies, content knowledge and personal development demonstrated by students over their time in Higher Education’.
This definition has been translated into a mathematical model which makes use of a range of variables in order to calculate the estimated learning gain per learner. By capturing how students benefit in these different ways HEFCE hopes to more easily understand the quality and impact of higher education.