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Drawing to learn

Date posted: 11/10/2010

“Drawing to Learn”, is a new series of booklets which have been developed through the LearnHigher Centre of Excellence in Teaching & Learning.  Each of the four titles in the series is addressed to a broad cluster of subject areas:

  • Arts & Humanities*
  • Business, Education, Law, Management & Social Science
  • Clinical Education, Health and Social Care
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

The booklets offer a practical introduction to using drawing and other visual methods to support undergraduate and postgraduate learning and research in every discipline - not just those with which these activities are usually associated. Observational drawing sharpens perception and enables rapid and accurate recording of key data in almost any situation, while conceptual drawing and diagramming reinforce memory and help develop critical thinking by requiring students to make explicit their understanding of abstract ideas and complex processes.  Drawing activities also provide an effective trigger for discussion and dialogue, and can help students reflect on their learning experiences to support academic and professional development planning.

The approaches discussed have been developed and used successfully with academics in many disciplines at different universities. They do not require specialist skills or materials and most can be incorporated into standard teaching sessions. It is hoped the booklets will encourage colleagues to explore the possibilities in their own teaching. The booklets and some additional resources are available online at and through the main LearnHigher website at


* The Arts & Humanities booklet is not really aimed at practice-based courses or specialist uses of drawing (though one or two studio teachers have said they’ve found them useful) but would be relevant to people teaching media /historical and critical studies etc.