Funded Projects 2018-2019

Exploring students’ unlearning development during transitions into and through higher education

Karen Gravett, University of Surrey


Student transitions are a central part of higher education policy and practice internationally. However much of the work within this important area is underpinned by unquestioned and limited assumptions of what transition as a concept might mean. Moreover, too often understandings of transition defer to narratives that sustain a stereotypic understanding of students’ experiences. This study contributes to a major shift in our understanding of the notion of transition. In order to do so, I draw upon Meyer and Land’s theory of threshold concepts, and from the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, to contest established understandings of students’ experiences. I propose a new approach to re-theorising and doing transition comprising three intertwined perspectives: transitions as rhizomatic; transitions as troublesome; and transitions as becoming. The article ends with a consideration of how these concepts could impact upon practice and offers an agenda for further research.

Please click here to read the final report.

For more information about the project, please contact


The influence of perfectionism on student learning: Implications and recommendations for learning developers

Dr Jane McKay and Kim Williams, Glasgow Caledonian University

Project aims and desired outcomes:

The aim of the project was to build on a pilot study undertaken to explore the influence of perfectionism on the student learning experience. Results of a pilot project indicated that students with maladaptive levels of perfectionism experienced barriers to academic success such as anxiety, fear of failure and burnout. The present study aimed to explore how perfectionism operates within the academic setting more rigorously, while adding to the extant literature. This was considered an important avenue for learning development research, given that learning developers are likely to come into contact with students who are facing perfectionist related study challenges on a regular basis. Specifically, the project aimed to address the following questions:

  • What can be learned about how perfectionism impacts on student learning and the wider student experience?
  • How can students with extreme levels of perfectionism be effectively supported in their academic endeavours?

Please click here to read the final report.    

For more information about the project, please contact;


Assessing the Impact of Writing Development through Consensus – Consensus among Subject Lecturers and Learning Developers

Dr. Ursula Canton, Glasgow Caledonian University

Project aims:

The project further explored the potential of applying consensual assessment to writing by examining:

  1. whether the Technique for Writing Assessment by Consensus (TWAC; Zahn and Canton. Under review) can be appropriately used with readers, or raters, without specific expertise in writing development (but expertise in the relevant discourse community);
  2. whether Learning Developers and Subject Lecturers agree in their evaluation of the degree to which student texts successfully communicate.

Please click here to read the final report.    

For more information about the project, please contact



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