A learning patterns perspective on student learning in higher education: state of the art and moving forward

Jan D. Vermunt, Vincent Donche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

199 Citations (Scopus)
245 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of this article is to review the state of the art of research and theory development on student learning patterns in higher education and beyond. First, the learning patterns perspective and the theoretical framework are introduced. Second, research published since 2004 on student learning patterns is systematically identified and reviewed. This part includes two main sections. In the first section, new evidence on internal and external relationships of learning patterns is reviewed. Four themes are covered here: the dimensionality and the internal relationships of learning patterns and relationships of learning patterns with personal, contextual, and outcome variables. In the second section, new directions in learning patterns research are examined. These include studies on learning patterns in new international contexts and populations, longitudinal development of learning patterns over time, methodological advances in learning patterns research, and studies on fostering the quality of students’ learning patterns. Next, relationships with adjacent theories on student learning are discussed, the learning patterns perspective is critically examined, and pathways are derived to move the model forward. Finally, future conceptual and methodological directions for learning patterns research are derived.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-299
Number of pages31
JournalEducational Psychology Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptions of learning
  • Learning motivation
  • Learning orientations
  • Learning patterns
  • Learning strategies
  • Metacognition
  • Self-regulated learning


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