We need a much more critical and rigorous interrogation of research ‘evidence’ and a healthier dose of doubt than current obtains, before accepting what research ‘evidence’ shows, and how credible and applicable it is.

(Morrison, p14)

Morrison, K. (2020). Taming Randomized Controlled Trials in Education. London: Taylor & Francis.

Nevertheless, a body of external pedagogic research evidence provides a starting point for further exploration of what potentially could work in your context. This is especially important where there is student and practitioner evidence to suggest that continuing with a current approach serves nobody’s best interest.


Research done elsewhere would highlight and inform us … and that type of evidence would give us food for thought, which we would then apply in our school. So it’s the evidence from outside research and then it’s the evidence that we would accumulate within the school, based on our research and our experience

Stoll, L., Greany, T., Coldwell, M., Higgins, S., Brown, C., Maxwell, B., & Burns, H. (2018). Evidence-informed teaching: Self-assessment tool for teachers

The Department for Education commissions research into ‘What Works?’ the findings are available in the Education Endowment Foundation (EFF) teaching and learning toolkit. However, the research findings are mainly derived from international evidence of teaching 5 – 16 year olds. We have supplemented this evidence base with a series of rapid evidence reviews focusing on flexible teaching and learning approaches in Higher Education settings.

The context analysis revealed that further evidence of flexible engagement and the use of study materials was required to support evidence-based decision making. The project funded two students to undertake rapid evidence reviews of current literature (2016 – 2022). Their findings are summarised in a literature review of flexible engagement and use of study materials (2016 – 2022)


Thank you for sharing this – this is clearly an immense effort for the researchers given the scope.  I think that it will be very useful when we’re searching for evidence to support our own insight work.

Gail Capper – Outcomes and Insights Manager, Pearson

Thanks so much for sharing this. Whilst we don’t get fully in the weeds of pedagogic / design elements of courses, I still think this will be helpful to my team when we’re in the early stages of programme conversations with academic teams (just to get them thinking about these sorts of themes early on in the planning and to help them start to think a bit differently around how they’d create a course for online versus on campus). 

Owen Knight – Head of Market Research, Pearson