The Higher Education Learning Framework (HELF) is a research project of the Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC), a Special Research Initiative of the Australian Research Council.

This project aimed to develop an evidence-informed model for university learning in the form of a Higher Education Learning Framework.

This was achieved through a synthesis of existing frameworks, literature, and research on the topic along with a set of national and international expert interviews offering the latest thinking on university learning.

The framework has been developed through a Science of Learning lens that threads together the often-disparate thinking in education, neuroscience and psychology to offer a convergent framework on effective learning in higher education that can broadly guide the sector.

Seven principles of learning

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

  1. Learning as becoming: what students become as a result of their higher education experience
  2. Contextual learning: linking learning to the real world
  3. Emotions and learning: what role do emotions play in how and why students learn?
  4. Interactive learning: more than teamwork makes the dream work
  5. Learning to learn and higher-order thinking: it’s not just what to learn but how to learn
  6. Learning challenge and difficulty: calm seas do not make skilful sailors
  7. Deep and meaningful learning: taking learning to the next level

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

HELF working group