Higher Education

, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Student experience and academic success: comparing a student-centred and a lecture-based course programme

  • Sabine SeveriensEmail author
  • Marieke Meeuwisse
  • Marise Born


Past research has shown that, under certain conditions, student-centred and small-scale course programmes result in more academic success. The present study investigates these conditions in further detail. It is examined whether, in comparison to a course programme that is relatively more lecture-based, a student-centred course programme promotes academic success to a larger extent when students’ experience of these environments is positive, when they show high levels of effort and engagement and spend more time studying. Four hundred seventy-five first-year business administration students from a course programme relatively student-centred and a course programme relatively lecture-based participated in the study. The students completed a questionnaire on experiences, student attitude and time spent studying. Academic success data were obtained from student administration offices. Analyses of variance and linear structural modelling analyses were conducted to answer the research questions. Results show that in the relatively student-centred course programme, feeling at home affected effort as well as engagement. Effort was related to the time spent studying as well as academic success [credits and grade point average (GPA)]. Similarly, in the more lecture-based course programme, feeling at home affected effort and engagement. In this case, effort affects time spent studying which in turn affected academic success in terms of GPA. There are a number of differences between the models: time spent studying, effort and feeling at home seem to play different roles in the student-centred course programme compared to the course programme that is relatively lecture-based. The process that explains academic success in student-centred and small-scale course programmes is different compared to the process in more traditional lecture-based course programmes.


Course programme Student-centred Lecture-based Academic success Feeling at home Student engagement 



The study was sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Education.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Severiens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marieke Meeuwisse
    • 1
  • Marise Born
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, Faculty of Social ScienceErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social ScienceErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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