The Learning Thermometer

Despite high prevalence rates of distress in university students, they are often unaware of support services available to help them.  To be effective,  information and support needs to be timely, provided if and when students need it.  The Learning Thermometer is a web-based tool that links teaching, learning, wellbeing and support, meeting the student where they are.


The aims of The Learning Thermometer are to:

  1. encourage students to self-reflect on their wellbeing and academic progress
  2. ensure that every student is linked with relevant strategies, resources and support, if, and when they need it
  3. promote autonomy-self-regulation, self-management and problem-solving
  4. provide teaching staff with group data to inform teaching improvements

Recommended Use

  1. The Learning Thermometer should only be used as a summative piece of assessment.  This is the only way to ensure that students who most need support have access to it.
  2. Used in at one core course, each semester across a degree program means that every student at the university is provided with support options if they need it.

How to use The Learning Thermometer

  1. Administrator adds semester dates to the program
  2. Teaching and counselling support services add university resources and people available to support students
  3. Academics add learning outcomes, aspects of the course they want feedback on, and select resources and support people relevant to students in their course.
  4. Students complete a brief survey four times over the course of the semester
  5. Students who report difficulties are prompted to choose strategies, resources, and people  that might help them-their Learning Plan.
  6. Students are emailed a copy of their Learning Plan as a reference.
  7. Academics upload group results at the end of semester.
  8. Academics use group data during the semester and at the end of semester to inform teaching improvements.

Relevant Literature

Stallman, H. M., & King, S. (2016). The Learning Thermometer: Closing the loop between teaching, learning, wellbeing and support in universities. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice. 13(5), e22.

For more information contact

Dr Helen Stallman,
School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy,
University of South Australia
Telephone:  08 8302 4360