Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds Met) is committed to widening participation and to providing a flexible and personalised learning experience that is high quality, student-centred and effective. This project focuses on new markets of part-time work-based learners. Traditional curriculum design, with its focus on institutionally-defined content, will not necessarily meet the specific requirements of such learners, who need provision that can be rapidly adapted to their particular and changing requirements. Instead, learners need to be able to design their own curricula and access provision at the level and within the time frame they need. However, this is not an activity that many learners will be familiar or comfortable with and an appropriate and effective support framework is therefore essential. We offer this through coaching. Coaching is a non-directive process which aims to enable learners to see what they are doing more clearly and discover their own ways to improve. As a result of a sustained coaching process a learner will develop as an autonomous adult learner. Leeds Met is a recognised centre of expertise in coaching, as evidenced by it being chosen as the UK Centre for Coaching Excellence. This expertise, initially developed in the sporting context, is being used to support learning across all disciplines.
The Personalised Curriculum Creation through Coaching (PC3) project is developing a framework that places coaching at the heart of the personalised curriculum design. Learners will be able to select provision suitable to their needs, construct an award (or module set), access resources and learning support, and negotiate assessment, with structured support from a personal coach. The PC3 Framework will facilitate this process by developing the necessary processes, documentation, training and technological support, within the context of Leeds Met’s flexible learning regulations and systems.
Recognising the innovation of this approach and the change it implies for staff and learners, the project is developing and evaluating the PC3 Framework using an exemplar case study methodology, working with selected staff and learner cohorts to pilot and refine the approach for wider use within the institution and beyond. These groups include the Carnegie Leaders in Learning Partnership, supporting school leaders; the new FdSc Sports Performance, for elite althletes; the Regional University Network, offering both FE and HE provision; the Faculty of Health, for a variety of practice-based learners and the University’s Institute of Northern Studies, offering Masters level provision to a potential part-time study for leisure market. This range of learners and staff will enable us to develop the Framework for different contexts, embed this practice within the institution and extract guidance for other institutions based on our experiences.