Motivation – To provide a model of university teaching that finds a middle way between the medieval transmission of knowledge and the current focus on student learning needs. Research approach – A synthesis of various studies is presented that have employed concept mapping and the direct observation of teaching. Findings/Design – The model presented provides an approach that can support student learning in a manner that is practicable for university teachers whilst helping to address the tensions between teaching and research. Research limitations/Implications – The findings are based upon detailed analysis of two components of meaningful learning (knowledge and action) without paying similar attention to the affective domain. Originality/Value – The research makes a contribution to the practical needs of university teachers in creating an evidence-informed pedagogy. Take away message – Visualization of learning and teaching can help to develop a more authentic pedagogy for higher education, based on the notion of expertise.