The Higher Education Learning Framework (HELF) is an evidence-informed model for university learning.

The framework pulls together seven main themes emerging from a rigorous study into higher education learning undertaken by researchers in the Science of Learning Research Centre. It provides practical tips and food for thought of how educators can implement each learning principle into their unique teaching context.

Download the HELF Handbook (PDF, 1.5 MB)Download the HELF Framework Matrix (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Seven principles of learning

The framework can be broken up into seven principles of learning*:

  1. Learning as becoming encompasses how the learning experience transforms learners and how a higher education experience can help learners to integrate knowledge and thinking outside of the learning context.
  2. Contextual learning brings the context to the learner and delves into how this makes the learning experience more engaging, motivating, and meaningful to students. 
  3. Emotions and learning explores the powerful role that emotions and group emotional states play in the learning process and how they can be harnessed to enhance the learning experience.  
  4. Interactive learning delves into the nature of social interactions and social dynamics in learning, the processes behind them, and the value of a sense of belonging in learning. 
  5. Learning to learn and higher order thinking focuses on the awareness of thinking processes and learning strategies, when and how to use them, when and how to evaluate their effectiveness, and developing these capacities in learners. 
  6. Learning challenge and difficulty centres on the role of learning impasses and error making in learning and how to resolve these to promote strong and healthy connections in learning. 
  7. Deep and meaningful learning unpacks building learning on prior knowledge, going beyond surface understanding, and laying the foundations for transferring and using knowledge in novel contexts.

* Published as a collection in the Times Higher Education (THE) Campus