Tell me a story: Using personas to enhance student engagement


  • Emma O'Brien Mary Immaculate College
  • Aoife Chawke Mary Immaculate College


Healey, Flint and Harrington (2014) suggest that engaging students in dialogue concerning learning and teaching is crucial to the future of higher education. Furthermore, the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 highlights the 'Involvement of students in course planning, feedback and evaluation' as a priority for HE institutes. Students participate in decision making regarding teaching and learning in a variety of ways, through surveys, student representation on committees, engagement with individual lectures and through class representation (HEA 2016; NStEP 2020; Algeo 2021). These methods, however, have limitations. The majority of feedback or evaluation on teaching and learning adopts quantitative approaches which provide limited opportunities to represent the needs of all students, and in particular non-traditional students. For example, representation on committees often over-relies on the students union and class representatives. This paper will explore the use of a narrative inquiry approach, using personas as a methodology, for large scale student involvement in decision making regarding teaching and learning.