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Learning enhancement

At The Open University in Scotland we enable people and communities across Scotland to raise their aspirations and realise their full potential. Our learning development work advances creative approaches to learning and teaching to meet the needs of Scotland's learners, employers and other stakeholders. This work is underpinned by research and evaluation and a commitment to sharing our experience and informing practice across the university and the wider sector.

Image from Learning Development Partnerships leaflet

Through our learning development activity we aim to:

  • Enable people from the widest possible range of backgrounds to access high quality higher education.
  • Develop creative and effective models for delivering the right learning in the right places.
  • Drive forward a learning culture in partnership with communities, organisations and workplaces across Scotland.
  • Ensure students can apply and develop skills to advance their career aspirations.
  • Advance understanding of the needs of Scotland's part-time learners.

Focus for 2015-17

Our learning development and enhancement work is focussed around the theme of 'Supporting Participation, Enhancing Student Resilience'. This stems from our key strategic interests in exploring innovative ways of widening participation, supporting student transitions, and meeting the diverse needs of learners in Scotland. 

Our four areas of work are:

  • Understanding and supporting student resilience: deepening our understanding of learner journeys and the resilience required to progress into and through study.
  • New learning in familiar spaces: working collaboratively to develop effective learner journeys and new pathways into university study.
  • Promoting learning cultures, supporting skills development and student employability.
  • Creating accessible pathways from informal to formal learning.

Research in action

Our research doesn't just benefit The OU in Scotland but has impact on learning and teaching across Scotland.

Enhancement Themes

The OU in Scotland actively engages with Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Themes, part of the quality enhancement framework supported by QAA Scotland (the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education). These encourage staff and students to share current good practice and collectively generate ideas and models for innovation in learning and teaching. For more information, visit the Enhancement Themes website.

The current 2014-17 Enhancement Theme Student Transitions explores the nature of transitions into, through and out of higher education.

The OU is using the theme as a springboard to enhance our understanding of key transition points in The OU learner journey. We use this research to enhance the support students can access to navigate these junctures, with a particular focus on part-time, mature, distance learning students. 

The full institutional plan is available on the Enhancement Themes website. Click on the graphic (right) to enlarge it and find out more about transitions.

Transitions graphic

The previous Enhancement Theme (2011-14) was Developing and Supporting the Curriculum.

Driven by our specific interests in part-time and distance education, and in the role of university curriculum for lifelong learning, key issues explored were: 

  • Shaping and Delivering the Curriculum: The significance of partnerships
  •  Supporting Distance Education Students: The opportunities and challenges posed by new technologies; click on the video (left) to hear OU staff discuss enhancing flexibility in learning and teaching through new technology.
  •  Teaching at a Distance: Supporting the needs of staff involved in distance education.

Contacting us

  • To get in touch about our learning development work, you can send an email, or visit our Working with us page for individual staff contact details.
  • For enquiries about our Enhancement Themes activity, contact Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator Alison Gilmour [0131 549 7134].

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