Immersive learning: making a difference to student engagement and belonging

Rozalind Green-Innes

University of South Wales, Llanwit Road, Treforest, Pontypridd, CF37 1DL; rozalind.green-innes@southwales.ac.uk

23rd March 2016

Abstract

The University of South Wales’ Immersive Learning project has developed and mainstreamed Immersive Learning for all new undergraduate students at the University. This paper reports on the project which focuses on the start of the learning journey, which is a period of risk for student retention.

Over one thousand first year students, studying thirty eight courses, took part in the project. The data from the project shows a significant trend of improvement in students’ experience of belonging, engagement and self-confidence and that course identity and enhancement of learning has developed through this applied, active learning approach.

The project spanned all four faculties and ensured that all undergraduate courses developed course specific immersive learning for the first six weeks of the new academic year. The six week period included an element of summative assessment for all students to receive early feedback on their learning.

The paper will explore how the University has used the project to enhance its strategic leadership in learning and teaching. It concludes by showing how the project can act as an exemplar of an immersive learning approach for other HEIs.