Reviewing affective, behavioural, and cognitive learning gains in higher education

Rogaten, Jekaterina; Rienties, Bart; Sharpe, Rhona; Cross, Simon; Whitelock, Denise; Lygo-Baker, Simon and Littlejohn, Allison (2019). Reviewing affective, behavioural, and cognitive learning gains in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44(3) pp. 321–337.



The notion of learning gains has increasingly become apparent within the higher education literature and is gaining traction in government policies in the US and UK, reflecting a desire to “quantify” the impact of university study and teaching excellence in particular. Given the increased policy focus on learning gains, it is essential that researchers and policy makers are informed about common used approaches to measure learning gains, and their expected range and magnitude. Therefore, a systematic literature search was undertaken. 52 studies (n = 41,009) were coded into affective, behavioural, and/or cognitive learning gains. The review found a rich but diverse variety of adopted methodologies and approaches to “measure” Affective, Behavioural, and Cognitive (ABC) learning gains. Nonetheless, there is a lack of consistency in the ways in which learning gains are currently measured and reported. These inconsistencies and limitations hamper effective comparisons of learning gains and teaching excellence. We recommend a greater emphasis on longitudinal measurement of learning gains using validated approaches.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions