Background: Students are ever more involved in the design of educational practices, which is reflected in the growing body of literature about approaches to student participation. Similarities and differences between these approaches often remain vague since the terms are used interchangeably. This confusing and fragmented body of literature hampers our understanding the process and outcomes of student participation and choosing the most suitable approach for it. Method: We identified the three most frequently used terms related to the design of learning and teaching - design-based research (DBR), participatory design (PD), and co-creation - and disentangled the terminology by focusing on relevant definitions, aims, involvement of students, outcomes, and related terminology. Results: Differences between the approaches to student participation can be found in the degree to which students are the central actors and the degree to which the design is informed by educational theory. Conclusion: It is important to align the level of student participation with the purpose of the approach.