Improving the student experience in higher education: An action research approach to implementing collaborative learning strategies


  • Elizabeth Spruin Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Nicola Abbott Canterbury Christ Church University


student engagement, collaborative learning, student experience, action research, higher education


Although higher education institutions (HEIs) tend to use traditional teaching formats, such as Lectures, this teaching strategy clashed with our commitment to a student-centred approach. Using an action research approach, we sought to promote greater student engagement via the implementation of collaborative learning activities. Previous literature has found largely positive effects of collaborative learning on student engagement and attainment, the present study therefore sought to extend on this prior research to examine whether there were positive effects of collaborative learning on the student experience. A qualitative and quantitative module evaluation was carried out using a questionnaire designed specifically for the study. The sample consisted of 30, second year, undergraduate students, enrolled on a particular psychology module. The module evaluation was administered during the last class of the module. Data were analysed through use of thematic analysis and t-tests. Results found collaborative learning to have a positive effect on the student experience, the details of this effect will be discussed further.