Aims of the ABC model of learning

An evidence-based approach of learning gains can be applied across Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) would be of value to students, institutions and national organisations.

Most studies of learning gains have focussed solely on cognitive learning gains (Bowman, 2010; Liu, 2009; McGrath et al., 2015). In line with well-established educational psychology principles and recent learning analytics approaches, which enable greater insight to be achieved from large data sets, we propose an Affective-Behaviour-Cognition (ABC) model of learning, to broaden the concept of learning gain, and – more importantly – to develop, test, implement and evaluate a range of measurements for learning gains at each of the ABC levels.

A Higher Education Challenge

One of the challenges facing higher education is in understanding what counts for an excellent educational outcome, how students’ learning can be measured effectively, and how these measurements might be used to guide current investments and inform future developments.

While there is a substantial body of research examining learning gains in the USA and in the Netherlands (Bowman, 2010; Pascarella, Blaich, Martin, & Hanson, 2011; Tempelaar, Rienties, & Giesbers, 2015a), recent review of the learning gain literature by McGrath, Guerin, Harte, Frearson, and Manville (2015) indicated that approaches to measuring  learning gains are in their infancy in higher education in England.