What is impact-driven education? Can it be cultivated? Is it essential to measure its effectiveness? Is impact-driven education context-specific? What are the crucial skills to support its development?

Impact-driven education can often seem nebulous, with varying definitions and complexities. Understanding different scholarly approaches serves as a foundation for navigating through diverse educational methodologies, selecting the most suitable ones, and actively participating in the educational process.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all formula for impact-driven education; rather, there are numerous approaches stemming from different perspectives, cultures, and contexts. Engaging with impact-driven education and implementing effective strategies is akin to crafting a new educational framework: understanding your environment, objectives, and stakeholders allows you to identify the appropriate methodologies.

Our Education Library is here to assist you. Whether you seek insights into some fundamental principles of impact-driven education or wish to explore the factors that can enhance or impede it, this is your starting point.

We believe that it is important to find inspiration and ideas from various sources. In this selection of materials, we have also included articles that do not refer only to Higher Education because values, techniques, and didactical tools can be adapted and recrafted and serve as starting points for the creative process of designing impact-driven education.

The Education Library is organised by relevant themes, and we provide a concise overview of each recommended resource’s significance and subject matter. While we strive to include openly accessible materials, some entries may require institutional access to academic databases for full access.


Supporting impact-driven education: barriers and gateways.

Lumpkin et al. (2015): Student perceptions of active learning

Why we like this: We appreciate this article for its thorough exploration of the shift towards interactive and student-centred learning in higher education. The authors' decision to conduct an action research project across multiple college courses demonstrates a commitment to empirical investigation and a willingness to assess the impact of innovative teaching methods. By incorporating both quantitative and qualitative data, the article provides a comprehensive understanding of student perceptions regarding active learning strategies. Furthermore, the findings underscore the importance of engaging in learning activities to enhance student learning outcomes, highlighting the significance of student involvement and participation in the educational process.

Lumpkin, A., Achen, R. M., & Dodd, R. K. (2015). Student perceptions of active learning [Report]. College Student Journal, 49, 121+.…


Sharlanova (2004): Experiential Learning 

Why we like this: This article provides valuable insights into the implementation of Experiential Learning theory and Kolb's learning cycle within the context of modernising Bulgarian education. By highlighting the pivotal role these theories play in transitioning from traditional to person-oriented educational approaches, the article sheds light on their significance in shaping contemporary educational practices. Furthermore, the discussion on the opportunities, advantages, challenges, and methods associated with implementing Kolb's cycle offers practical guidance for educators seeking to incorporate experiential learning principles into their teaching methodologies. Overall, this article contributes to the ongoing discourse on innovative educational strategies and their potential impact on student learning outcomes.

Sharlanova, V. (2004). Experiential learning. Trakia Journal of Sciences, 2(4), 36-39. 


Kolb and Kolb (2005) on the importance of the Learning Environment

Why we like this: This article explores recent advancements in experiential learning theory, drawing on foundational theories by Dewey and Lewin. It introduces the concept of learning space, examining its role in aligning student learning styles with institutional environments. Through three case studies, it illustrates practical applications of the learning space framework in institutional development. Additionally, the article provides principles for enhancing experiential learning in Higher Education, emphasizing its integration into various aspects of institutional development programs. Overall, this article offers valuable insights into the potential of experiential learning to transform educational environments.

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(2), 193-212. 


Ong and Wong (2023): Bringing the classroom to the real world: Field trips to marginalised neighbourhoods


Why we like this: This article offers practical insights into incorporating real-world problems into economic education, particularly while considering the perspectives of individuals living in marginalised areas. The authors' approach involves integrating experiential learning into three courses: Urban Economics, Labor Economics, and the Economics of Inequality. Through location-oriented field trips to neighbourhoods typically outside students' daily experiences, such as a legal red-light district and a public rental housing estate, students engage with economic concepts within the context of real communities. The reflections provided by students demonstrate their ability to identify economic principles in lived realities, critically evaluate economic models, and comprehend the costs and benefits for economic agents. This innovative pedagogical approach not only enriches students' understanding of economics but also fosters empathy and a deeper appreciation for the complexities of economic issues in diverse communities.


Ong, E., & Wong, T. (2023). Bringing the classroom to the real world: Field trips to marginalized neighborhoods. The Journal of Economic Education, 54(3), 267-280. DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2023.2200409


Putting the action into Politics: embedding employability in the academic curriculum.

Why we like this: This paper focuses on the need to pay attention to the skills that students will need in their future careers. The article shows that it is important that students know how the academic skills we teach them can be used in their future careers. 


Jones, A., Lishman, R. (2023). Putting the action into Politics: embedding employability in the academic curriculum. Eur Polit Sci 22, 349–362.


Encouraging Community Service through Service Learning. 

Why we like this: This paper shows that incorporating service learning projects into the academic curriculum connects students with communities. Further, students are more likely to participate in community service after their academic project has finished. 


McCarthy, A. M., & Tucker, M. L. (2002). Encouraging Community Service through Service Learning. Journal of Management Education, 26(6), 629-647.


Community as agency: Community partner experiences with service learning.

Why we like this: This article looks at the perspectives of community partners when participating in service learning projects. Community partners feel positive about the collaboration with the university (students).


Gerstenblatt, P. (2014). Community as agency: Community partner experiences with service learning. Journal of Community Engagement & Scholarship, 7(2). 



What is ‘impact’?


Laura R. Meagher on impact

Why we value this: this empirical study delves into the multifaceted impacts generated by research in the field of mathematics, employing a multi-method approach. By triangulating data from various sources, including impact case studies, surveys, and interviews, the study uncovers a diverse range of impact types and mechanisms. Notably, while mathematics contributes to conceptual impacts, instrumental impacts are prioritised for assessment purposes. The study highlights the importance of long-term relationship-building and interdisciplinarity in fostering meaningful impacts. It challenges simplistic linear narratives, advocating for a nuanced understanding of impact types, mechanisms, and dynamic environments to enhance the generation of meaningful impacts.

Laura R. Meagher, Ursula Martin, Slightly dirty maths: The richly textured mechanisms of impact, Research Evaluation, Volume 26, Issue 1, January 2017, Pages 15–27,


Embracing uncertainty in learning and teaching


Trinter and Hughes (2021) on the productive struggle

Why we like this: Let’s find inspiration from the educational practice of lower education. This study delves into the experiences of middle-grade teacher design teams as they engage in developing interdisciplinary curriculum units using a backward design framework. Facilitated by a researcher-practitioner partnership within a school structure prioritising teachers' involvement in curriculum design, the study highlights the teachers' journey of productive struggle throughout the process. A key finding is the evolution of their pedagogical design capacity, transitioning from adapting or offloading to improvising their curriculum. These insights are especially relevant in middle grades education, emphasising the importance of challenging, exploratory, integrative, and diverse learning experiences for young adolescents. The study underscores the significance of teachers being actively involved in designing curricula tailored to their students' needs, ultimately enhancing the quality of education in middle-grade settings.

Trinter, C. P., & Hughes, H. E. (2021). Teachers as Curriculum Designers: Inviting Teachers into the Productive Struggle. RMLE Online, 44(3), 1-16. 



Creativity: a competency to foster

Practical Insights from Laura Taddei

Why we like this: This concise piece serves as a valuable entry point, offering a plethora of pragmatic recommendations to foster creativity in teaching across various disciplines. Notably, it highlights a poignant quote from an unnamed faculty member emphasising the pivotal role of encouraging creative thinking: “Learning happens when you trap a student in an environment where they can’t escape without thinking”.


Ten Maxims Kazerounian and Foley (2007)

Why we like this: This engaging article consolidates existing concepts from the literature on creativity, presenting "Ten Maxims of Creativity in Education" aimed at cultivating a conducive educational environment for fostering students' creativity. The authors' list, which advocates for embracing ambiguity and incentivising creativity, offers actionable guidelines akin to a rubric for promoting creativity through teaching.

Kazerounian, K., & Foley, S. (2007). Barriers to Creativity in Engineering Education: A Study of Instructors and Students Perceptions. Journal of Mechanical Design - J MECH DESIGN, 129. 



Barrett and Donnelly: Pathways for Cultivating Creativity

Why we like this: Providing an insightful overview of the importance of nurturing student creativity in Higher Education, Barrett and Donnelly underscore the significance of fostering enthusiasm and playfulness in educators. Their delineation of three pathways—namely, "speedy techniques," "social and supportive factors," and "whole-curriculum change"—renders the concept of fostering creativity less abstract and more practical, facilitating tangible implementation.

Barrett, T., & Donnelly, R. (2008). Encouraging Students’ Creativity in Higher Education. In B. Higgs & M. McCarthy (Eds.) Emerging Issues II: The Changing Roles and Identities of Teachers and Learners in Higher Education. Cork: NAIRTL.


Larry Livingston (2010)’s Student-Centered Approach

Why we like this: Livingston's approach challenges the notion of teaching creativity by positing that all students possess inherent creative capabilities. By advocating for a researcher-supervisor dynamic in teaching, he encourages an environment conducive to exploration, risk-taking, and creativity among students.

Livingston, L. (2010). Teaching creativity in higher education. Arts education policy review, 111(2), 59-62. 



Douglas Newton (2013): The Role of Mood and Emotions

Why we like this: Newton sheds light on the often-overlooked influence of emotions and moods on the teaching and learning process, particularly their correlation with creativity. By exploring this link, the article underscores the importance of emotional awareness in fostering a conducive environment for creativity.

Newton, D. P. (2013). Moods, emotions and creative thinking: A framework for teaching. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 8, 34-44. 



Beghetto and Kaufman (2014): The Significance of the Learning Environment

Why we like this: Beghetto and Kaufman delve into practical methods for fostering creativity, addressing common challenges faced by educators. By offering actionable guidelines, such as incorporating creativity into daily teaching and providing opportunities for choice and exploration, the article empowers educators to nurture creativity effectively within any discipline.

Beghetto, R. A., & Kaufman, J. C. (2014). Classroom contexts for creativity. High Ability Studies, 25(1), 53-69. 

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