Exploring (in)dependent learning in cross-institutional project about perceptions of learning

Harriet Dunbar-Morris, Chrissi Nerantzi, Panagiota Sidiropoulou, Lucy Sharp

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, significant focus was placed on the benefits and challenges of online versus traditional face-to-face learning. This paper presents the findings from a project which paints a more complex picture. ‘Differing perceptions of quality of learning’, a collaborative project between four UK universities, investigated student perceptions of teaching and learning during the pandemic. Mixed methods using survey and focus groups to collect data were used. Analysis was conducted on the overall sample, by subject area, and by ethnicity. Findings indicated that the focus in universities should be shifted from the dichotomy of face-to-face/online learning towards flexible and scaffolded modes and approaches that lead to quality learning, and progressively help students to move appropriately between lecturer-led learning and independent learning. Implications for the sector include a focus on pedagogical principles, and ensuring the quality of any medium and environment used. The priority recommendation is to provide scaffolding for independent distance learning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDistance Education
Early online date30 Apr 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 30 Apr 2023


  • Independent Learning
  • Distance Learning
  • Student Perceptions
  • Staff Development
  • Pedagogical Principles
  • Scaffolding

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