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Mini-module 1: What to Expect from Higher Education

Helping you to prepare for study at LSBU

What's different about Higher Education?

Link to homepage of Skills for LearningWhat's Different about Higher Education? Page 2 of 7

At university, you will learn more advanced things than you learnt at school. However, Higher Education is not just about learning more than you did at school. The way that universities approach teaching and learning will probably be the main difference for you. 


School vs University


Look at this diagram and read the description below it.  


Diagram summarising the description of skills that follows

General overview of learning at university

At university, students are expected to be proactive and so there will be less “spoon-feeding”. In a little more detail, this "being proactive" involves five main areas.



Independence means that you will manage most of your own learning, which means planning when and how you choose to learn in contrast to school, where you are told what to do and when. This means that you will need to be good at study skills (note taking, researching, writing, making presentations, revising etc.).




Secondly, there is a culture of discussion and argument at university. This means you decide for yourself what you think about an issue, but you have to be prepared to support that with good evidence and reasoning. This can be difficult until you realise that you need to find your own voice and you don’t need to agree with everything you read. This brings us to the next area, critical thinking.


Picture of brain

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is one of the tools that helps you to evaluate ideas and research that you read, and also express yourself convincingly. It involves finding weaknesses in arguments, research techniques and so forth. It also involves combining different sources of evidence, or different conclusions. This means you can combine different sources of information and make something new using solid evidence.


Magnifying glass


Doing research

In order to find reliable sources of information, you need to be able to judge how good they are, and you need to know how to find these sources by using your skills in research.



Rodin's Thinker

Deep learning

Finally, it is good to think of learning as a process of development. There should be an emphasis on understanding rather than memorising. This is an important part of university learning because it helps you to form your own opinions based on evidence and argue for them, rather than just learning what others have said.


Finally, now see if you have got the general idea by trying the interactive activity below.