ESE Fieldwork

An approach grounded in evidence

We have based our new strategy on consultation and research and we will continue to be led by evidence in its implementation.

  • A large and growing body of evidence has shown that using more interactive techniques in higher education enables more effective learning, by actively engaging students, increasing their sense of personal and professional identity, improving learning outcomes and creating a stronger sense of community
  • We will continue to be informed by academic research into learning and education, and in turn we will contribute to that body of evidence with our own experience of evidence-based innovation. We will rigorously evaluate the impact of our education, and create useful transferable techniques and insights to foster further innovation
  • In studying the effectiveness of our innovations, we will consider the equality, diversity and inclusivity impacts of our curriculum design, delivery and assessment
  • By evaluating the effectiveness of our learning and teaching innovations, and then adjusting our teaching methods based on the evidence we have collected, we will continuously enhance our education

Bibliography and useful links


Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C. and Norman, M. K. (2010) How learning works: seven research-based principles for smart teaching. Jossey-Bass.

Biemiller, L. (2014) Harvard and MIT Release Visualization Tools for Trove of MOOC Data – Wired Campus, The Chronicle of Higher Education. Available at: (Accessed: 10 April 2017).

Bransford, J., Brown, A. and Cocking, R. (2000) How people learn: brain, mind, experience, and school. National Academy Press.

Brownell, S. E. and Tanner, K. D. (2012) ‘Barriers to faculty pedagogical change: lack of training, time, incentives, and...tensions with professional identity?’, CBE Life Sciences Education. American Society for Cell Biology, 11(4), pp. 339–46. doi: 10.1187/cbe.12-09-0163.

Deslauriers, L., Schelew, E. and Wieman, C. (2011) ‘Improved Learning in a Large-Enrollment Physics Class’, Science, 332(6031), pp. 862–864. doi: 10.1126/science.1201783.

Easterbrook, D. and Parker, M. (2006) ‘Engineering Subject Centre Mini-Project: Assessment Choice Case Study’, Higher Education Academy. Available at: (Accessed: 10 April 2017).

Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H. and Wenderoth, M. P. (2014) ‘Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics.’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), pp. 8410–5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111.

Ghadiri, K., Qayoumi, M., Junn, E., Hsu, P. and Sujitparapitaya, S. (2013) The Transformative Potential of Blended Learning Using MIT edX’s 6.002x Online MOOC Content Combined with Student Team-Based Learning in Class. Available at: (Accessed: 10 April 2017).

Gurin, P., Dey, E., Hurtado, S. and Gurin, G. (2002) ‘Diversity and Higher Education: Theory and Impact on Educational Outcomes’, Harvard Educational Review. Harvard Education Publishing Group , 72(3), pp. 330–367. doi: 10.17763/haer.72.3.01151786u134n051.

Hoellwarth, C. and Moelter, M. J. (2011) ‘The implications of a robust curriculum in introductory mechanics’, American Journal of Physics. American Association of Physics Teachers, 79(5), pp. 540–545. doi: 10.1119/1.3557069.

Holmes, N. G., Wieman, C. E. and Bonn, D. A. (2015) ‘Teaching critical thinking.’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. National Academy of Sciences, 112(36), pp. 11199–204. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1505329112.

Ippolito, K. (2007) ‘Promoting intercultural learning in a multicultural university: ideals and realities’, Teaching in Higher Education, 12(5), pp. 749–763. doi: 10.1080/13562510701596356.

Killpack, T. L. and Melón, L. C. (2016) ‘Toward Inclusive STEM Classrooms: What Personal Role Do Faculty Play?’, CBE Life Sciences Education. American Society for Cell Biology, 15(3), p. es3. doi: 10.1187/cbe.16-01-0020.

Klochan, Y. (2015) Highlights from ‘Blended Learning on MIT’s Campus’; Nov 16 xTalk | Office of Digital Learning. Available at: (Accessed: 10 April 2017).

Von Korff, J., Archibeque, B., Gomez, K. A., Heckendorf, T., McKagan, S. B., Sayre, E. C., Schenk, E. W., Shepherd, C. and Sorell, L. (2016) ‘Secondary analysis of teaching methods in introductory physics: A 50 k-student study’, American Journal of Physics. American Association of Physics Teachers , 84(12), pp. 969–974. doi: 10.1119/1.4964354.

Mulnix, A. B. (2016) ‘STEM Faculty as Learners in Pedagogical Reform and the Role of Research Articles as Professional Development Opportunities.’, CBE Life Sciences Education. American Society for Cell Biology, 15(4). doi: 10.1187/cbe.15-12-0251.

Murphy Paul, A. (2015) Are College Lectures Unfair? - The New York Times, The New York Times. Available at: (Accessed: 10 April 2017).

Schwab, K. (2016) The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means and how to respond, World Economic Forum. Available at: (Accessed: 10 April 2017).

Scudamore, R. (2013) ‘Engaging home and international students: A guide for new lecturers’, Higher Education Academy. Available at: (Accessed: 10 April 2017).

Seron, C., Silbey, S. S., Cech, E. and Rubineau, B. (2016) ‘Persistence Is Cultural: Professional Socialization and the Reproduction of Sex Segregation’, Work and Occupations. SAGE PublicationsSage CA: Los Angeles, CA, 43(2), pp. 178–214. doi: 10.1177/0730888415618728.

Sharpe, R., Benfield, G., Roberts, G. and Francis, R. (2006) ‘The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice’, Higher Education Academy. Available at: (Accessed: 10 April 2017).

Smith, K. A., Sheppard, S. D., Johnson, D. W. and Johnson, R. T. (2005) ‘Pedagogies of Engagement: Classroom-Based Practices’, Journal of Engineering Education, 94(1), pp. 87–101. doi: 10.1002/j.2168-9830.2005.tb00831.x.

Strasser, R. and Hirsh, D. (2011) ‘Longitudinal integrated clerkships: transforming medical education worldwide?’, Medical Education, 45(5), pp. 436–437. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2011.03939.x.

Talbot, R. M. I., Doughty, L., Nasim, A., Hartley, L., Le, P., Kramer, L. H., Kornreich-Leshem, H. and Boyer, J. (2016) ‘Theoretically Framing a Complex Phenomenon: Student Success in Large Enrollment Active Learning Courses’, in 2016 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings. American Association of Physics Teachers, pp. 344–347. doi: 10.1119/

Tamim, R. M., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., Abrami, P. C. and Schmid, R. F. (2011) ‘What Forty Years of Research Says About the Impact of Technology on Learning: A Second-Order Meta-Analysis and Validation Study’, Review of Educational Research, 81(1), pp. 4–28. doi: 10.3102/0034654310393361.

Existing Imperial resources and initiatives

  • The Educational Development Unit exists to support learning and teaching, raising its profile and enhancing the student experience. The Unit organises the College's annual Education Day, a symposium for staff and students which provides an opportunity to showcase teaching practice.
  • The Medical Education Research Unit share an interest in medical education research and a desire to use their research to improve their programmes of study and teaching.
  • The new Essentials for MBA Success courses have been created by Imperial College Business School to provide learners with a solid grounding in the foundation topics needed to embark on an MBA.
  • The Department of Earth Science and Engineering are undertaking their own pedagogic research and developing new methodologies, whilst blending traditional and contemporary teaching methods.
  • The Faculty of Natural Sciences has produced a set of guidance documents and case studies based on existing good practice from within FoNS Departments, other Faculties and external sources.
  • The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine is the first undergraduate school to completely replace lectures as the primary classroom teaching method for large groups.
  • What can we learn from learning analytics? A case study based on an analysis of student use of lecture recordings produced by Moira Sarsfield and John Conway from the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
  • The College uses Mentimeter, a web-based, real-time polling tool that can be used to gauge the opinions or knowledge of an audience. It provides a selection of question types and enables users to view feedback in real-time. This tool is primarily used by lecturers at Imperial for in-class polling to gauge the knowledge and opinions of students. This is one of a range of tools supported by Imperial's e-learning teams.

External reference points

  • Professor Carl Wieman holds a joint appointment at Stanford University as Professor of Physics and the Graduate School of Education. Throughout his career he has carried out extensive experimental research in atomic and optical physics, winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001. He has now turned his focus towards improving undergraduate physics and science education, pioneering the use of experimental techniques and subsequently evaluating the effectiveness of various teaching strategies for physics and other sciences. A number of publications setting out the results of studies into this approach are available from the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia website
  • This approach has also been adopted by the University of Colorado and more information is available from the CU Science Education Initiative website
  • Harvard Medical School launched an innovative new curriculum called Pathways in Summer 2015. This new curriculum incorporates pedagogical approaches and will provide customised pathways for every student

Useful resources

  • The Higher Education Academy (HEA) has developed a series of strategic frameworks created in response to, and in collaboration with, the HE sector, which are based on extensive evidence and experience. The HEA has also produced a range of toolkits to bring together useful resources to help enhance teaching practice and to improve student learning outcomes. Materials include a guide to working with students as partners (pdf).
  • The HEA's guide for new lecturers (pdf) working with diverse groups of students.
  • HEFCE's learning gain programme is supporting excellence and innovation in learning and teaching. The programme will test new ways of capturing educational outcomes and analyse how students benefit from higher education.