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Learning is the purpose of teaching - we teach students in order to help them learn. This part of the website offers guidance on how to stimulate and support effective learning in different teaching contexts.

There are two general points to bear in mind:

a) University teaching should aim to encourage and develop independent learning. Students should develop the ability to formulate and carry out their own learning tasks, whether individually or in collaboration with their peers, and to assess their own learning appropriately.

It is for this reason that most undergraduate programmes include elements of 'independent study' (e.g. projects or extended essays, undertaken by groups and/or individuals). These typically become more important in the later stages of the programme, foreshadowing the independence of postgraduate study.

b) Teaching should also aim to promote deep learning rather than surface learning.

The latter relies heavily on memorising information; it is the kind of learning that many students do in preparing for exams, for example.

In contrast, deep learning seeks to extract principles and underlying meanings, to 'make sense' of new information and integrate it with previously acquired knowledge. Students who rely too heavily on surface learning may be adept at assimilating information and reproducing it in examination answers and assignments, but they may find it hard to apply their knowledge in new or different contexts and they may show a poor grasp of underlying principles.

For specific information and guidance, please see below: