The Learning and Teaching Strategy articulates our institution-wide approach for the development of our education. The strategy enables us to communicate and project the excellence and innovation in what we do; to share best practice, collaborate and partner internally; and to deliver the infrastructure and resources needed to support perpetual innovation.

The strategy was structured around the following strategic priorities which remain relevant:

  • To deliver degree programmes that challenge students to achieve their full potential through discovery-based learning,
  • To provide a diverse range of interactive teaching, assessment, and feedback approaches,
  • To further embed our research into our education,
  • To expand our global reach and diversify our student body,
  • To expand continuing education opportunities that enable life-long learning,
  • To foster greater collaboration across our academic disciplines,
  • To employ creative thinking in the use of physical and virtual space to maximise the student experience.

Over the last five years, Imperial has made great strides in bringing together colleagues and students from across the university in delivering the strategic priorities of: reviewing our curricula and assessment; using evidence to transform teaching; fostering an inclusive and diverse community; and developing our digital innovation.


As we embark on the next phase of this project the five fresh aims will build upon our progress. We will of course also be retaining and building upon approaches that have been successfully embedded across our community in recent years:

  • Our commitment to students working in partnership with staff to transform our approach to teaching, assessment, feedback, and many more activities,
  • Our work in the educational evaluation and research space,
  • Our commitment to offer training and continuing professional development for staff,
  • Our development of the physical learning environment,
  • Our seed funds to enable bottom-up innovation,
  • Our approach to capturing student feedback and tracking the actions it has informed,
  • Our StudentShapers and I-Explore programmes,
  • Our support for developing specific areas of the curriculum,
  • Our sharing of the outputs, impact and linkages between activities undertaken as part of our Learning and Teaching Strategy.

Aim 1: Assessment and feedback

Aim 1: Assessment and feedback

All Imperial curricula were reviewed as a priority in the first phase of our Learning and Teaching Strategy, with undergraduate content rolling out in early 2019, and the postgraduate review concluding as a separate piece of work in early 2023.

Despite these efforts, both staff and students have expressed the view that improving assessment and feedback should remain a key priority going forward. This is particularly evident in the general lack of increasing satisfaction with assessment and feedback in Imperial’s National Student Survey results, where the College has consistently ranked in the bottom quartile for too long.

It is important that we re-evaluate the ways in which our current practices might be negatively contributing to the workload of both staff and students. Imperial’s teaching community also note that the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred changes in the use of online assessment but has also introduced new debates regarding the implications of this trend.

We will do this by:

  • Developing resources to share how different assessment and feedback approaches are being used and how programme teams can manage changes in practice,
  • Initiating a university-wide substantial collective effort to rationalise how we assesses students and enhance their feedback, while reducing workload for staff and students,
  • Providing consistent and enhanced information to students regarding the assessments for their modules and the feedback they should expect,
  • Understanding how the implications of new technologies such as generative AI may impact on assessment and feedback practices for both students and staff,
  • Undertake evaluation activities to determine whether the revised approaches taken by the university are recognised by students as improving their experience in this area.

Aim 2: Discovery-based learning

Our degree programmes should provide students with the opportunity to learn through discovery, gaining a deep disciplinary knowledge, and developing the broad range of skills they will require for future careers that don’t yet exist. These learning opportunities should be delivered within an environment that provides chances for experimentation, failure, and refinement – in keeping with the culture of academic enquiry in which our educational experience is embedded.

The work undertaken by departments and faculties as part of our curriculum review has deepened opportunities for students to learn in a range of interactive and collaborative environments, to undertake formative assessment to aid their learning, and to support the development of transferrable skills. This activity has identified the numerous ways in which discovery-based learning can be further embedded in students’ experience in the coming years.

We will do this by:

  • Providing more opportunities for students to study in a cross-disciplinary way, equipping them with the problem-solving and emotional skills they will need for the future,
  • Continuing to align our world-leading research with the learning experience, reinforcing our position as a leading research-led educator,
  • Further investing in interactive classrooms and laboratories, combined with an increased use of engaging learning techniques,
  • Working ever closer with our industry partners, offering partnerships with the world-changing organisations which our students aspire to join,
  • Ensuring that opportunities exist for the sharing of open and subscription-based content across student groups and disciplines.

Aim 3: Lifelong learning opportunities

A key priority from community feedback is to expand access to Imperial teaching to a wider group of learners. Our community were supportive of a careful approach to developing lifelong learning opportunities while taking into consideration staff workloads and ensuring no detriment to the student experience.

This, positioned alongside the Government’s commitment to bridging existing UK skills gaps by ensuring people can access learning and training throughout their lives, creates an opportunity for Imperial to leverage our specialist position as a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine, and Business (STEMMB) institution. By providing a range of lifelong learning opportunities (including before and after a university experience), we can reinforce Imperial’s reputation as a world leader in digitally enhanced and innovative education. Our next phase aims to position Imperial as a constant companion in the lives of our students and alumni, allowing these communities to upgrade their skills and knowledge.

Deeper engagement with lifelong learning is expected to result in increased student access, increased acceptance of offers, a stronger ‘pipeline’ of studying throughout individuals’ lives, and greater global reach for the Imperial brand. Additionally, there is the potential that the university can strengthen our outreach activity via new opportunities which a lifelong learning provision could facilitate.

We will do this by:

  • Developing a strategy for lifelong learning as part of Imperial's 'Science for Humanity' strategy, led by an Associate Provost (Digital Lifelong Learning).
  • Scoping the development of a variety of forms of lifelong learning including enveloping relevant existing activities and pursuing a small number of proof-of-concept activities to understand public demand and viable delivery models,
  • Considering the development of new, open, and fully online courses and programmes, including the use of ‘micro credentials’ and ‘stackable’ degrees,
  • Building a strong business case to grow lifelong learning activities across Imperial’s portfolio of academic disciplines,
  • Identifying opportunities where Imperial’s approach to lifelong learning can foster an increasingly diverse student community.

Aim 4: Digital education capabilities

Upon launch, the Learning and Teaching Strategy set out a vision for the use of digital and online technology at Imperial to better apply interactive teaching techniques and to enhance a sense of collaboration and community between students in the classroom and studying online. This vision was accelerated through the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now being refined through the work of the Faculty EdTech teams, the Interdisciplinary EdTech Lab and Digital Media Lab, as well as partners in ICT.

Our digital education infrastructure must now develop into a world-class ecosystem that will enable seamless digitally supported teaching and learning across the student experience, both on and off campus. This will comprise the procurement and adoption across the university of a new Learning Management System (LMS) platform, as well as the evaluation of other digital teaching tools.

Imperial has also continued to invest in specialist staff communities to ensure the delivery of technology-enhanced educational programmes. The activities outlined in this aim now supersede the objectives outlined in Imperial’s Digital Learning Strategy published in 2017.

We will do this by:

  • Further investing in the use of novel digital technologies for education to offer deep, experiential learning opportunities in a virtual environment,
  • Investing in a distinct number of virtual spaces and technologies to rethink the use of our campus footprint to provide the most valuable in-person education opportunities,
  • Developing the collection and use of data in our decision-making by enhancing our learning analytics capabilities to deepen our insight as an institution,
  • Considering the mix of digital vs. on-campus delivery, monitoring the impact on staff and student workloads to ensure that new delivery methods do not increase this,
  • Enabling joined-up collaboration across the university to ensure that new technologies are implemented and governed with a mind to ethical and equitable practice.

Aim 5: Supportive environment

Imperial has made great strides in recent years to create a supportive environment, challenge those that don’t live up to our values, and ensure a healthy learning and working experience for all students and staff. Likewise, we believe a community in which different backgrounds and cultures are celebrated is critical to excellence in education.

Additionally, through the development of our flexible, digital educational programmes we see many opportunities to increase our appeal to a broader range of students across the UK and wider world. To achieve this, we must reinforce our commitment to further developing a supportive and diverse environment that fosters a sense of community for students and staff, values teaching as highly as research, supports innovation, and engages students in positive change. 

We will do this by:

  • Supporting staff and students to turn diverse backgrounds and cultures into an opportunity for mutual learning of different experiences and perspectives,
  • Working to embed sustainability, social responsibility, and equality, diversity, and inclusivity as values and objectives within Imperial’s education,
  • Establishing a culture that values teaching as highly as research, a key aspect of which is striving for parity of esteem for teaching,
  • Supporting innovation by creating time for staff to step back from existing workloads and recognising their contributions consistently across the institution,
  • Engaging students in positive change by establishing ways for them to contribute to their own and to their peers’ educational experience.

Other supporting activities and initiatives

We must also recognise the large range of activities and initiatives that enable the wider student experience alongside educational delivery. This spans the services that we provide to our students to support them, providing opportunities beyond the classroom and the services and technologies that underpin the experience for staff and students alike.

Key activities which will support our objectives in the coming years are:

  • The Imperial Experience academic strategy project, focusing on the experience of students beyond the learning environment,
  • Implementation of Imperials Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, and the strengthening of support for specific communities of students,
  • The work of the Student Lifecycle Administration Product Line Board (SLAB) and Teaching & Learning Board, who are re-imagining the underpinning systems for student administration, assessment management, teaching delivery and AV,
  • Integrating systems though a Unified Data Platform (UDP) to allow for a single source of truth for information and a reduction in data duplication,
  • Development of services and physical infrastructure at campuses away from South Kensington, in particular at White City.