Modelling ‘high impact pedagogies’: workshop reflections

by Liz Austen

Workshop: High Impact Pedagogies for Student Engagement

Led by Liz Austen, Stella Jones-Devitt, Jill LeBihan

This workshop was held at Collegiate Crescent on 27th March 2017.  The aim of the session was to introduce participants to the evidence base underpinning high impact pedagogies.  In 2015, Carol Evans and colleagues from the University of Southampton undertook a HEA funded research project to investigate pedagogic strategies which have been shown to have the highest impact on student engagement.


Using a systematic review methodology, this report concluded that, whilst there is a huge amount of pedagogic literature, only 13% of the sample was of high quality across pedagogy, methodology and impact criteria.

From this sample, Evans et al summarised the core principles of effective pedagogy as follows:

Accessibility — Authenticity — Agency — Criticality

Flexibility — Manageability — Context — Learner – centredness


We designed the workshop to model some of the pedagogic approaches that were discussed in this report.


  • Activity 1: Participating in Flipped Learning

Participants were asked to view a short screencast prior to the session. This video outlined the aims and objectives of the workshop and discussed the key reading (Evans et al 2015). Preparation work was set via the screencast. It was anticipated that the face to face session would engage staff in activities and discussion rather than drawing on the findings of the report.

During the workshop, discussions about the process of flipped learning included – the importance of flexibility, the expectations of the preparation work, the use of reminders, varied engagement due to time and prioritisation, and how the work was distributed. Each of these issues were then related back to our expectations of students. Further support on the principles and practicalities of flipped learning can be viewed here

  • Activity 2: Visualising High Impact Practitioners


The second activity drew on the principles of kinesthetic learning. Participants were asked to work collaboratively to draw a high impact practitioner on flip chart paper. Each characteristic (of the person, or the environment that they would work in) would need to be debated and agreed upon, and based on individual drawings which had been created in preparation for the session.

Characteristics included, a strong stomach to approach difficult topics, pockets filled with experience and roller skates to move through resistance.



Activity 3: Debating Assessment Co-design

The final activity provided an overview of approaches to assessment co-design on a continuum from modest to intense, including – enabling students to choose a topic for a question or between types of assessment, and enabling students to write their module or course assessment strategy or exam questions for a seen paper. Examples were provided of how to engage students in assessment co-creation by highlighting both the instructional and aesthetic dimensions of design.

During the workshop participants discussed their own experiences, especially feelings of constraint. Whilst this workshop highlighted the principles of high impact pedagogies, participants were also able to learn from the experiences of others.  Practical strategies for innovation, when working within fairly rigid institutional processes or within teams which may be more risk averse, were shared and debated. Using the evidence based to inform educational development was a strong theme throughout.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, or would like to request a bespoke session for your course/module team please contact