Student Learning Experience (original tool) - sparqs


The Student Learning Experience (SLE) is a tool that lies at the heart of many of sparqs’ resources.

While still in use in Course Rep Training during 2023-24, this original version of the SLE is being superseded by a redeveloped SLE model, commissioned by the Scottish Funding Council as part of its Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability.  sparqs has worked with students and staff to redevelop the model to provide a sector reference point where students’ interests are front and centre. The new SLE model (launched in October 2023) is designed to sit at the heart of conversations with students, enabling students and staff to work together to identify priorities to enhance the quality of learning. It plays a key role in Scotland’s quality arrangements and will continue to evolve alongside the tertiary approach to quality.

The original SLE tool was created out of elements of the previous college review framework in Scotland operated by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (now Education Scotland), and sparqs identified a practical use in those headings for students to similarly reflect on their learning experience.

The specific terminology in the tool has changed a number of times over the years. Though the current terms are generally self-explanatory, more detail is included in the accompanying grid resource.

The Student Learning Experience is used in our Course Rep Training to help course reps break down the often vague idea of the learning experience into practical, bitesize chunks. It means that reps can ask their fellow students specific, meaningful questions around each of the areas of the learning experience, allowing student input to be mapped across various headings to ensure it is broad-ranging.

The headings also allow course reps to filter out comments that don’t fit with the work of the course committee – for instance those around estates or student finance matters. Such issues, though valid topics for student comment, are not directly a matter for course teams and should be passed on to more relevant institutional teams or senior student officers.

It is possible to use the headings of the Student Learning Experience for other similar engagement purposes, such as agenda items for a course committee meeting, topics for focus groups and surveys, or a mapping tool for teaching staff to reflect on how much input they are getting from student representatives across the different areas of learning.

As noted above, the SLE  has been redeveloped as part of the move towards a single tertiary aproach to quality for colleges and universities, a recommendation of the Scottish Funding Council's Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability.  

Suggested questions for Course Reps to use - 2023-24

We have developed a resource with suggested questions to help course reps gather student feedback and build solutions to help safeguard the Student Learning Experience. The resource suggests questions relating to each element of the SLE that course reps can use when speaking to students.

This resource is updated annually to reflect the current landscape in which students are learning.



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