The LEAP (Learning Excellence Achievement Pathway) framework: A model for student learning development in higher education

Emily McIntosh, Mary Barden


This article explores the development of the LEAP (Learning Excellence Achievement Pathway) framework at the University of Bolton, UK. It describes the nature of the project and focuses on the methodology involved in conducting an institution-wide audit of student learning development (LD) provision and producing a visual framework to stimulate a culture of LD within the organisation. Whilst most UK universities offer a student LD programme at undergraduate level, little work has been undertaken to develop and define a visual framework which underpins these programmes and assists students to conceptualise their progress. This paper explores the context for creating an LD framework and outlines how LD provision is mapped to align curricular LD opportunities with co-curricular student engagement initiatives. The article then considers the implementation of the LEAP framework. A mixed-methods evaluation activity was conducted, involving both staff and students, using a variety of data. Evaluation methods were used to assess the impact of the framework on student LD, revealing a number of positive changes to their LD behaviour and habits, their assessment of LD, the accessibility of help and support and their awareness of the context in which LD takes place. Finally, we identify future developments to the framework to embed it further within the institution.


learning development framework; digital literacy; academic development; learning development culture; digital badging; student engagement

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ISSN: 1759-667X