Tag Archives: PPDP

‘The Twain Shall Meet’- Designing and delivering innovative employer work-based programmes

Conor Moss

Parallel session 4, CoLab 4.5

Short Abstract:

The last 20 years has seen significant growth in Work-Based Learning as a distinct field of activity within universities rather than purely as a mode of learning within disciplinary or professional fields. It has long been acknowledged that high-level learning doesn’t just occur in lecture theatres, classrooms and other physical locations on university campuses, but goes on in many other locations too. This was explicitly recognised in Section B3 of the QAA Quality Code for HE in 2012.

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Since 2010 we have seen a change of government and whilst there are different methods for addressing workforce development the general thrust for higher-level work-based learning has endured. The current focus is on the development of Higher Apprenticeships through BIS funding and trailblazer projects and in the Employer Ownership of Skills (BIS, £250m).  These initiatives are a threat to our existing provision; consequently we need to evolve our offer to maintain competitiveness and relevance to business.

As a result of the changing external environment for the HE sector it is necessary that Sheffield Hallam University is able to respond to an ever more competitive environment and react to opportunities in an efficient and effective manner. Consequently, we have developed an Institutional Work-Based Learning Framework (WBLF) enabling subject teams to develop accredited provision efficiently and with central support.

This is an interactive session aimed at exploring how YOU can use the WBLF in YOUR subject area. We are particularly interested in exploring the development of institutional resources and expertise to support the following:

  • credit-rating of employer provision,
  • negotiated work-based projects,
  • academic credit from CPD coursesand
  • preparing students for APEL
  • This is an opportunity to influence the implementation of the University’s Employer Engagement strategy. We look forward to sharing the experiences of colleagues from a range of disciplines and further developing the Work-Based Learning Framework.

Becoming the LinkedIn University: students and staff – developing our professional profiles together

Andrew Middleton & Sue Beckingham
@andrewmid / @suebecks

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.2

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Short Abstract
Professional recognition and identity are important to all staff and students. How each of us fosters and maintains our professional identity is problematic. In this Social Digital Age maintenance of good reputation requires a fluent life-wide engagement with professional profiling as exemplified in the idea of a life-wide “LinkedIn University”.

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Detailed Outline
We report on the outcomes of our HEA Employability project which sought to promote student engagement in Personal & Professional Development Planning.

Not only is engagement in PPDP important to employability, it develops a student’s learning capability, and their sense of being and becoming. The project began by questioning where PPDP sits, challenging views of it being a teaching, learner support, or career development problem. PPDP underpins all these and, reflecting on last year’s conference, is best understood as a life-wide and lifelong habit best fostered while at university to develop the reflective graduate capable of taking care of their future. This requires PPDP to be a meaningful concept to the learner. The project has sought to ‘un-problematise’ PPDP so that the learner, and all those who support learning, embrace its importance.

Thomas (2013, p.10) says, “higher education institutions should aim to nurture a culture of belonging within the academic and social community. This should be encouraged through active student engagement, across the institution…” So while PPDP remains pertinent to teaching and learning, it comes from a life-wide view of learning while at university (Jackson, 2013a; 2013b).

The project aimed to concretise this life-wide view of learning, employability and PPDP by focusing first on the ‘presentation layer’; creating and maintaining a professional profile to present ourselves to others. By establishing good presentation practice using LinkedIn (the de facto online social media professional profiling tool) the meaning of, and engagement with, PPDP becomes clearer to the aspiring and practicing professional.

The ‘professional profile’ connects strongly to ideas about professional recognition and reputation for academic staff. A mutual interest for staff and students is now envisaged in which each models good practice and supports the other in using online social media.

298 – How to engage students in Employability and Personal Development – Billy Jon Bryan

Strands: Course identity and credibility

Anticipated outcomes:

I wish to give members of faculty a sense of ‘atmosphere’ about what our current level 3 students in the sport academy perceive ‘employability’ and also how they view themselves independently in the current job market as they leave this year.

Outline: Poster format

This poster presentation will provide an insight into current and on-going research conducted by myself as a student researcher and academic colleagues/staff in the health and wellbeing department collaboratively with a special focus on using appreciative enquiry pioneered by David Cooperrider (1987). It will assess current attitudes and methods of assessing student engagement in employability and the results of our study will be the basis for re-shaping the course for the next academic year.

As a student myself who has had a lot of experience in many different areas of work I can provide an objective view considering the challenges of working and learning in the current economy and how it affects the learning needs of others in my position concerning employability skills.


Our research will define what current final year students think about the delivery/content/validity of their employability and how it will affect their post graduate employability offering. The discussion method ‘appreciative inquiry’ really ‘brings out the best’ in an individual’s experiences and allows them to be shared in a group setting to inspire and create new ideas from ‘success stories’. These workshops are ‘solution-based’ meaning that discussions will be centred on problems and barriers facing student’s ability to gain job experience/skills using positive aspects of job experience to generate effective solutions for common issues faced by students. We wish to change the identity of the course employability assessment from autocratic, outcome based learning to a more student led approach. The feedback received from students will be used in module development for a new and improved sport business/events management degree producing better equipped students into the job market.

Session activities:

The session will begin with introductions and a short brainstorming session into employability as a whole. Then I will present my poster/research and further develop how what we discussed during the brainstorm relates to my work and students. I will then offer up my own experience in employability and professional development and encourage others to do so while still using evidence from my study and others, turning the session into a focus group type setting using ‘appreciative enquiry. The session will end with Q&A.


293 – Teaching reflection isn’t a science; is it an art? – Richard McCarter, Emma Heron

The teaching and learning of reflection is not a science and the term ‘critical reflection’ is often framed and conceived differently by many tutors and students especially those in a non-vocational setting. This paper explores possible teaching approaches and strategies towards student’s own PPDP and draws on interviews with staff and 2nd year students in the social sciences. Even when the opportunity to encourage students to examine and write critically about their own professional, academic and personal development, tutors are themselves not always active enquirers and may feel challenged by their own role as facilitators.  Equally students feel threatened, distanced or alienated from the reflective process.

The outcomes of our study indicate that students liked the skills element of the module, but declared that they waffled through some areas of an assessed piece of writing when asked to reflect. The study reveals that staff differed in expectations of what represents reflection. A significant outcome of the study suggested that tutors were not reflective practitioners and they lacked a sense of what the reflective process should contain and what or how to promote in the student, critical enquiry and self-reflection.

Larrivee (2000) refers to teachers having an awareness and criticality of their practice and points to the notion of the critically reflective teacher and the ability to have a deep examination of values on action; their own interrogation of practice through critical checks and multiple lenses. Can we teach students reflection without such awareness ourselves? No; in order to teach PPDP effectively, the teacher needs to be (or become) a reflective practitioner.  The paper discusses the tutor’s support role and reviews strategies and approaches to help staff support students undertake a journey of self-discovery and looks at the kind of practitioner that we might become.

263 – Using e-learning to enhance personal and professional development: how reflective blogs can illustrate transformational learning – Emma Taylor, Claire Craig

The module Occupational Approaches to Health   and Wellbeing is a distance learning (DL) module that considers how the   Lifestyle Redesign Model can be applied in the context of health promotion.   The module delivery was structured over five teaching sessions that involved   online collaboration between the students.    The module had a small cohort of 10.
Students were also asked to complete a reflective blog after each session.   The blog was a shared one which allowed other students to read and comment on   it. The students were given directed questions, relating to the session   content, to reflect on in their respective blogs

 Why   did I choose this module?
How does policy impact on both your personal and professional life?
New knowledge and you: has the earning impacted on you personally in any way?
How can you integrate behaviour change principles into your work?
What now? Reflect on your new knowledge both personally and professionally.
What transpired over the period of the module was a clear development of the   students both professionally and personally.

Students consistently applied the principles from some of the sessions to   their work and shared the successes and frustrations of this on their blogs.   Peers offered encouragement via the blogs which initiated further blog   dialogue between the students and supported each other in applying their   learning in practice.

What was particularly interesting was how students started to apply the   theories being taught to their personal lives and also shared these in their   blogs (e.g. joining weight loss programmes). What was apparent was the   support from the other students in making these changes in their lives.   Students that blogged would receive   comments from tutors and students which seemed to motivate them to add   further comments.  The tutor could have   moderated the discussions should this have been necessary.

Student feedback was very positive and so the use of reflective blogs has   been introduced in all the DL modules on the course to help with personal and   professional development.

ref: Cranton (2010) Transformational learning in an online environment. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education & Technology 1(2). 1-9.

 263 Using e-learning to enhance personal and professional development

239 – Progress Files for Personal and Professional Development Planning – Jeff Waldock

Personal and Professional Development Planning (PPDP) is a mechanism for students to improve their levels of achievement and engagement by regularly recording and reflecting on progress.  This process will help you to• recognise and value your strengths and achievements.  In summary reviews students are often surprised and pleased when they realise just how far they have come.  This recognition is important as students need to be able to articulate their skills at interviews• identify problems and develop action plans to address them If you don’t address problems effectively, you are missing out on a great chance to improve your levels of achievement• organise your work, and plan your time effectively For these reasons, it is a key element of the University’s employability strategy, however there are many barriers to successful implementation, principally:• Students will often not see it as relevant to their subject• Staff do not have the time to invest in developing a mechanism for PPDP or in it’s implementation In Mathematics, an e-Progress file system has been in use for over 10 years.  In recent years other areas have taken it up, and it now provides PPDP to some 800 students in ACES. The main advantages are that it is private to students but public to staff; staff can easily get overviews of all progress file entries made for their module, or for the course, or show all entries for an individual.  Staff can easily respond to comments; it helps get to know students well and is an important element in forming a supportive staff-student learning community. An example student comment from this year’s evaluation are: “When you think about the deadlines more, you are able to assess your workload better, and plan ahead which is excellent for time management”

Click to view poster: 239 SHU_LTA_2013_Waldock_Progress_Files

2012 PPDP and career mentoring

Kent Roach and Ruth Holland

SHU is committed to making PPDP integral to the learning experience of all it’s students, and is developing a framework and toolkit for staff & students to bring this commitment to life.  Being both reflective & forward looking, the PPDP process has a clear relationship with the development of career management and employability skills in students. 

Any general provision for career development in students should include the opportunity to join a dynamic and empowering career mentoring scheme, giving access to committed & highly competent professionals in a range of vocational disciplines. 

It’s benefits to students include: access to specialist skills; advice; insider’s knowledge;  and greater confidence. 

The mentoring process itself involves: identifying learning needs; discussing them; setting goals; taking action; and reviewing & reflecting upon the experience. 

All of which resonate with the core elements of PPDP. 

This session further explores the links between PPDP and career mentoring,  considers it’s place a part of the employability toolkit for SHU students and looks at how staff can be effective ‘enablers’.

D3 – (FU53) 15.30