Learning development mentor provision – how it’s going





co-creation, learning development, peer mentoring


Continuing from the presentation in 2022 (see Thomas and Mansfield, 2022), the University of Northampton Learning Development Team used this session to share how the second year of their Learning Development Mentor Project has progressed.

Our session discussed the impact of utilising student mentors on the provision of our service with the objective of reducing barriers to accessing support. Our nine Learning Development Mentors (LDMs) replicate that of Price et al.’s (2018) Student Learning Assistant Model where we offer support to students from any disciplinary subject via drop-ins, tutorials and other formal events. All LDMs are current second- and third-year students and work four or six hours a week to supplement the LD provision by offering a peer perspective to academic and study skills. Furthermore, they are seeping into spaces unable to be penetrated by Learning Development. The talk evaluated how the role was co-created with the LD Mentors and the benefits and impact it has had on the LD provision. We discussed how the Learning Development tutors, mentors and users of the service differentiate the roles. In addition, the impact of the following projects which the LDMs have been involved with was considered:

  • University of Northampton Plagiarism Awareness Course (UNPAC).
  • Social media and marketing outputs.
  • Pathways project to support students’ understanding of Learning Development and how to access the service.
  • Other institutional events such as open days, exam ready project and many more.
  • The conference presentation will describe how we have navigated the project and how measuring impact with the project is not always straightforward.

Author Biographies

Sheryl Mansfield, University of Northampton

Sheryl Mansfield has been a member the Steering Group since May 2020. She is Head of Learning Development at the University of Northampton. She is an Advance HE Senior Fellow, a Certified Leading Practitioner in Learning Development and Qualified Teacher. Her background teaching Sport Science in Further and Higher Education Institutions has offered a plethora of experience actively engaging learners. Her research interests include asynchronous resources and inclusive teaching.

Sam Thomas, Arden University

Sam Thomas is a Senior Academic Skills Tutor at Arden University. Prior to this she worked at the University of Northampton as a Learning Development Tutor and Mentor Manager for six years. She is a Fellow of Advance HE, an ALDinHE Certified Practitioner and an active member of ALDinHE. Her focus is on providing support and services to those with additional needs, including improving the accessibility of online resources, and supporting the needs of non-traditional and distance learners.

Helena Beeson, University of Northampton

Helena Beeson started working as a Learning Development Tutor in 2011 at the University of Northampton but has worked in roles across Library and Learning Services for several years before this. She is currently working as a Learning Development Tutor and Mentor Manager. Helena joined LearnHigher in 2019 to collaborate with colleagues in similar roles across the country and share her wealth of experience. She is an ALDinHE Certified Practitioner, a Fellow of the HEA with a MA in Modern English and Linguistics. Her current research interests include collaboration with student mentors and promoting student autonomy.


Beltman, S., and Schaeben, M. (2012) ‘Institution-wide peer mentoring: benefits for mentors’, The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 3(2), pp. 33-44.

Dos Reis, K., and Yu, D. (2018) ‘Peer mentoring: enhancing Economics first years' academic performance’, South African Journal of Higher Education, 32(6) pp.234-250. https://doi.org/10.20853/32-6-2979.

Flores, G., and Estudillo, A. G. (2018) ‘Effects of a peer-to-peer mentoring program: supporting first-year college students’ academic and social integration on campus’, Journal of Human Services: Training, Research, and Practice, 3(2), Article 3.

Maharaj, C., Blair, E. and Burns, M. (2021) ‘Reviewing the effect of student mentoring on the academic performance of undergraduate students identified as “at risk”’, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, Issue 20, March, pp.1-24. https://doi.org/10.47408/jldhe.vi20.605.

McKellar, L. and Kempster, C. (2017) ‘We're all in this together: Midwifery student peer mentoring’, Nurse Education in Practice, 24, pp.112-117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2015.08.014.




How to Cite

Mansfield, S., Thomas, S. . and Beeson, H. (2023) “Learning development mentor provision – how it’s going”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (29). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi29.1134.

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