Document with QR codes

November 22, 2016, by Claire

Dr John Turner on personalising learning using QR codes

This post sees us with John Turner, who is an assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. He encountered particular challenges when introducing the concept of material balances to two first year modules, which cover the topic of process engineering and separation process fundamentals.
John tells us “I teach this complex topic to large classes, with each student having individual learning strategies and requirements. How do I successfully tackle this challenge and allow for differentiation between learning styles? By using QR codes.”
A QR code is a diagrammatical representation of a barcode in matrix form which when scanned on a mobile device will take the user to a predetermined online resource. They are simple and cost nothing to generate and QR readers are freely available to students to install onto their smartphone or tablet device.
John goes on to say “In order to facilitate the ability of the student to access these online resources I give out printed help sheets at the start of each lecture. These sheets outline what the learning aims of each lecture are, and what the outcomes will be as well as what tasks I will actually be doing in that session. They also contain QR codes, which when scanned take the student to additional learning resources. Each QR code leads to different ways of performing each task which leaves the student free to follow my lecture and also select a different way of presenting the techniques covered. There could be several different approaches available to the student, with them able to cover as many or as few as they chose. These resources are also available away from the lecture theatre too and can be accessed at a time and place of the student’s choice, with limitless flexibility.”
If you are interested in exploring one of John’s help sheets (in the form of a workbook) has been made available for all to try, Booklet 01 Basic Concepts and Terms (you will need a QR reader, freely available for all devices online).

If you are interested in exploring whether QR codes can be utilised in helping your students to access their learning resources contact

Do you have a story to tell? If you’d like to participate in this Transforming Teaching project to surface good teaching practice across the university, email

Posted in TTP Theme• Personalising students' learning experience