Last changed 1 June 1999 ............... Length about 900 words (6000 bytes).
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The Laurillard model and beyond

Speaker: Steve Draper, Dept. of psychology, U. of Glasgow
Date/time: 2-4pm, Tuesday 8 June 1999.
Place: Teaching & Learning Service, 69 Oakfield Avenue.
How to get there: Instructions


I believe we need a theory of the learning and teaching process (LTP) in Higher Education (HE): without one we cannot hope to generalise between observations or measurements. A theory to tell us what factors to measure and/or control.

The way academic psychology treats learning turns out to be largely useless in predicting student learning because it fails to treat it for what, in HE, it is: a prolonged, goal driven, plan dependent, internally monitored and regulated process, whose results depend primarily on what goals a student selects, and what plans they adopt for achieving this. In contrast, Laurillard's model of the LTP can be quite successful in explaining the strengths and weaknesses of a piece of courseware and the contexts in which it will and will not succeed.

I think Laurillard's theory is the best on offer so far.

I will describe it in terms of three underlying principles (that is, it is my view it can be seen like that).

I will relate it to other major theories where I can: it tries to subsume a number.

Nevertheless Laurillard's model needs to be extended in various ways, not least because it too fails to address explicitly how teachers and students together manage a student's learning, which has a strong effect on learning outcomes. An adequate model of this would address learning skills and their acquisition, and Perry's model of the stages of "maturity" in a student's understanding of what learning in HE is. More important even than this, however, is an extension to address the issue of the internalisation by some learners of activities that her model assigns to teachers, or their performance by other students in peer interaction.

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