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David Scott, Gwyneth Hughes, Carol Evans, Penny Jane Burke, Catherine Walter, David Watson. Learning Transitions in Higher Education. Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-137-32211-1. Pages: 217.
The book examines student and learning transitions within the context of graduate higher education based on a focus group of students with different academic and personal backgrounds. Drawing on a rather holistic approach related to issues of teaching, learning and assessment, the study tries to identify the necessary transition mechanisms to post-graduate studies and the characteristics behind these transition processes. The study stands out through a strong meta-theoretical approach but the authors constantly maintain their link to their qualitative focus group research. As such, the authors examine more in detail the transitions experienced by the members of the research focus group such as the transition from a pure to a applied disciplinary context, from an international to a British context, from full-time work to full-time work and part-time study, and from an under-represented background to an academic setting – all aspects of transition relevant to the focus group participants. These transitions represent identity transformations, which are only one part of learning transitions next to other aspects such as literacy practices, transformational pedagogies, assessments for learning, and feedback mechanisms. Although the study sees itself embedded in a broader policy context and changing circumstances in British higher education, the broader framework around issues of learning transitions in higher education plays a less ostensible role. Yet, the study clearly does not fall short of presenting a coherent piece of qualitative research on a rarely tackled issue.