What is Partnership-Based Learning?

Partnership-based learning is where educators and students collaboratively and cooperatively seek to foster active learning, student success and the enhancement of learning and teaching. Partnership-based learning encourages educators and students to learn together by engaging in critical reflection, exploring assumptions, thinking creatively and critically, and transforming learning and learning environments of which they are a part.


We can create partnerships with students through:


  • Co-learning, co-designing and co-developing our courses and programs (curriculum design & pedagogic inquiry, learning, teaching and assessment inquiry)
  • Co-researching and co-inquiring (subject-based research & inquiry)
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning (quality enhancement) (Healy et al, 2014)

What are some examples of Partnership-Based Learning in Practice?

You can use a variety of ways to design learning environments that support effective communication, collaboration and learning within the course, including: 


  • building an engaging and inclusive learning community through clarifying/negotiating roles and expectations, co-developing guidelines for productive learning and discussion, building peer connections, clarifying course structure, roles and working relationships, facilitating connection and belonging by sharing backgrounds and interests relevant to the course 
  • using an appropriate mix of communication forms, tools and channels to optimise educator-student and student-student communication, including verbal and non-verbal face-to-face interaction; asynchronous online communication through Course Site announcements or discussion forums; synchronous online discussions through web-conferencing ( Collaborate sessions)   

Where digital tools can be leveraged?

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Connecting & Collaborating: 

  • Blackboard announcements, discussion boards, Collaborate 
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Yammer
  • LinkedIn

Course Design Standards


We work in partnership with our students to create collaborative learning environments.

Why is Partnership-Based Learning important?

Partnership-based approaches have been shown to be positively linked to student engagement and learning outcomes. These approaches create conditions that foster authentic engagement with learning and have the potential to lead to transformative learning experiences for educators and students (Healey, Flint & Harrington, 2014).

Jarvis, Dickerson & Stockwell (2013, p. 220) found that “Staff-student partnership in learning and teaching has a significant impact on learning and teaching development and enhancement, learning to learn, raising the profile of research into learning and teaching, and employability skills and attributes”.

Engagement outcomes for students (Healey et al, 2014):  

  • enhanced confidence, motivation, and enthusiasm 
  • enhanced engagement in the process not just the outcomes of learning 
  • enhanced responsibility for, and ownership of, their learning
  • deepened understanding of, and contributions to, the academic community 

Engagement outcomes for educators (Healey et al, 2014): 

  • transformed thinking about and practice of teaching
  • changed understandings of learning and teaching through experiencing different viewpoints
  • reconceptualization of learning and teaching as collaborative processes

You can intentionally gather feedback from students about their experience to inform dynamic and systematic enhancements to the course, such as: 


  • incorporating feedback from students into the design or facilitation of the course 
  • describing changes to the course made in response to feedbackfrom students, through the Course Profile, verbally during teaching sessions, course announcements 
  • inviting students to contribute to course enhancement practices (e.g., tutorial review conversations, mid-trimester feedback, polls/pulse surveys, feedback blogs)and as pedagogical consultants (course/program reference groups and working parties)

Where could I learn more?

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Jarvis, J., Dickerson, C., & Stockwell, L. (2013). Staff-student partnership in practice in higher education: the impact on learning and teaching. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences90, 220-225.

Healey, M., Flint, A. & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in Higher Education.  United Kingdom: Higher Education Academy.