Student perceptions

How to support students/learners with generative AI

Following our initial Student Perceptions of Generative AI report last year, we recognised the need to continue the discussion with students/learners as the technology continues to evolve.

Over this past winter, we have run a series of nine in-person student discussion forums with over 200 students across colleges and universities to revisit student/learner perceptions of generative AI. Our goal was to understand if and how views on generative AI have shifted, identify emerging usage and concerns, and explore the developing role students/learners want these tools to play in their educational experience.

As institutions grapple with developing policies and guidance and the complex pedagogical shifts, capturing the authentic student voice remains crucial to inform responsible AI integration that both empowers students/learners and maintains academic integrity.

Students/learners we spoke to are looking for their institutions to support them to develop the necessary skills, knowledge, and guidance to enter an AI enabled workplace post education. Specific areas included:


Students/learners spoke about the need for their institutions to embed generative AI training in all courses, so that they understand the capabilities and limitations and how to use it effectively and responsibly to support their educational journey.  They want this to include how they can best utilise generative AI tools in their specific study areas, without impacting intellectual development.

They want generative AI to be embedded across their education to ensure that they are developing the required skills and can efficiently use the tools they will be expected to utilise post study, as they transition into sustainable employment.

Many of the students/learners expressed a desire for staff to be confident generative AI users, so they were able to ask for support and advice when needed.  Feedback was that this is currently mixed.

Guidance & Policy

Students/learners we spoke to requested coherent and clear guidance on the acceptable use of generative AI.  They need to understand how to reference generative AI, where it is allowed and what use constitutes plagiarism.  They want this guidance to be consistent and unified.  Many of the students/learners expressed disappointment with their institutions where they are experiencing a notable discrepancy in their ability to use generative AI tools across curriculum areas and with different teaching staff.   This ranged from fully supportive and guided to classes where the use of all generative AI is banned. This inconsistency has created confusion and frustration among students.

The students/learners also wanted clear guidance around copyright and ownership, particularly when they are using generative AI to co-create things like music, images, or storyboards.   They also wanted clarification on the use of generative AI across their institutions and how bias is mitigated, and fairness is ensured within these tools.


Some of the students/learners we spoke to are currently paying for tools to support their accessibility needs to enable them to remain in study.  They felt strongly that institutions should have a suite of approved generative AI tools for students provided with relevant access for their study needs.  Many of the students/learners felt very strongly that there was a growing divide with some students able to pay for better tools.

This illustrates the students/learners desire for a structured, ethical, and fair integration of generative AI into educational practices, with a strong emphasis on support, training, and accessibility across institutions.

Developments since Spring 2023

Since our last report in 2023 students/learners’ expectations for generative AI integration in education have matured.  They now express a desire for generative AI to be embedded across their education and expect competent usage by staff.

There is a stronger call for clear, consistent policies on AI use, emphasising the need for guidance on plagiarism, copyright, and equitable treatment. Concerns for accessibility and the equitable provision of AI tools have grown, highlighting growing disadvantage among students based on financial ability.

Students/learners were more aware of the inherent biases perpetrated by generative AI and wanted to feel confident these were not being reproduced within their institutions.

Overall, students/learners want a safe, responsible, accessible, and uniformly applied, adaptive generative AI experience across their education.


We’d like to thank the following institutions for supporting our student generative AI discussion forums:

  • University of the Arts London
  • Belfast Metropolitan College
  • University of Bolton
  • Gateshead College
  • Glasgow College
  • Midlands Innovation
  • Northern Regional College
  • Queens University Belfast
  • Southern Regional College
  • University of Ulster

    Find out more by visiting our Artificial Intelligence page to view publications and resources, join us for events and discover what AI has to offer through our range of interactive online demos.

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