Assessing and Managing Gaps in Previous Knowledge in Higher Education: Perspectives from Teachers at Lund University


  • Fredrik Eng Larsson
  • Carl Gustafsson
  • Pia Långström
  • Sebastian Pashaei
  • Christina Windmark


Teaching, learning, knowledge gaps


This paper is part of the university course Introduction to Teaching
and Learning in Higher Education at Lund University, and aims to discuss
and reflect upon the difficulty in teaching a class with varying levels of
previous knowledge. The paper is based on a theoretical framework
consisting of pedagogical ideas and results from previous studies, followed
by results from an interview study of seven different university teachers. The
study covers different perspectives from the literature, discussing the
problem of how to address a class with varying levels of previous
knowledge. This is done by addressing the challenges of teaching for
relevant learning by taking different learning and teaching styles into
consideration. Different methods for handling gaps in previous knowledge
are also discussed. The outcome of the interviews shows that teachers are
aware of the importance of managing knowledge gaps and try to do their
best to help students on all levels. Common for all teachers is that they see
themselves as guides and conveyer of knowledge.