Using a coaching framework with Pupps

On Friday I met with Iwi Ugiagbe-Green who ran the Pupps pilot last year and is a frequent blogger on ALT issues. The conversation was around running the pilot again with coaching support from the PC3 project.

The general idea is to provide a self-coaching form set through PebblePad for students to work through as and when they need the support. Pupps used a self-assessed competency profile last year, as a means of gathering data at the beginning and end of the project. This provides a good start to using the sort of questions you would use with tools such as the wheel of life. Taking a low score and asking: What would a nine look like, what would the outcomes of being able to do X be? This enables them to understand their understanding of what a competency or role entails. The wheel of life process takes you through to actions on making a high score possible. These actions are identified by the student enabling ownership in moving towards their chosen career or life goals.  Well that’s roughly how it works.

Pupps participants are placement students who are required to produce a reflective statement about their activities. This is ideal for working with PebblePad. Iwi has also invited graduate trainees to participate this year which gives a nice link into CPD and work based learning activities. She thinks that the use of a coaching based profile will fit in well with their PDP when they come back to level 3 after placement. There is also the possibility of hooking this into PDP @ level 1 next year which would provide a nice counter to what we are currently doing with Nick’s team. Another thing we considered was getting some form of coaching and reflective process in at the placement decision making stage, which we might be a bit late for this year but could be developed for next year. The final thought, it was a busy conversation, thanks to Iwi, was using coaching to support buddying systems, peer coaching, level 3 informally supporting level 2 etc .

Coaching fitting in with CPD and PDP seams to be a recurrent theme at the moment. The next step is to identify some good coaching questions and create a structure within PebblePad for them. This will also feed into the work we are doing with Nick’s team and can be released as a general resource.

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Preview of PebblePad 3

Attended a PebblePad workshop in Preston today at which a demo of PebblePad 3 was given. Didn’t get the opportunity to play with it directly 😦 but some demo accounts may be available shortly so will keep my eyes open. Interface looks light and airy with more opportunities to use it a more like your desktop. Multiple asset types can be opened which is good. Text formatting within asset fields is also great, which will make blogs and webfolios better in appearance.

There is a social element that draws in from popular Social Networking apps, Facebook, Twitter and Blogger, as well as posts out. Institution tab acts like a portal with one stop login to other systems, pulling information in and linking out to more details, all admin customisable. The main difference is being able to completely customise the standard wizards and forms with your own designs. At the moment you can create new forms but not replace the standard set. The other useful feature is being able to replicate assets across multiple PebblePad accounts.

The workshop also went over some of the features in 2.5 and I now understand the potential of forms and gateways much better. One of the issues we have had with PebblePad and the disengaged students is being able to assess what they are having an issue with. If we had used the Gateway instead of a Blog we could have tracked student progress much better. The other thing I realised was how you can create a work booklet for students to complete as they progress through their studies. Again shared and published via a gateway, becomes an effective means of keep track of students you don’t meet face-to-face. Some good lessons learned today, Ill be definitely working on the booklet idea. Possibly as a means of implementing focus questions around the GROW model of coaching, for staff and students.

ELESIG: Evaluating Learners’ Experience of e-learning

On October 6th I attended my first symposium of the Evaluating Learners’ Experience of e-learning special interest group (ELESIG), held in London on the topic of Effective Learning in the Digital Age. ELESIG is an international community of researchers and practitioners who are particularly interested in understanding how learners use and experience technology in their learning. It was an interesting meeting, where the highlights for me were presentations by students giving first hand accounts of activities they had been involved in, including a major survey soon to be published by the NUS on student perception of different technologies in a learning context.

As part of the day I had the opportunity to give a 10 minute presentation on the PC3 project as part of “Members’ Corner”. The presentation focused on our future activities working with Nick Halafihi and his team on the PDP module for Level 1 students in the Carnegie Faculty. One of our challenges is to engage with these students from the project perspective to get their feedback on the coaching activities, when we are not directly involved in the teaching process this time. We need unobtrusive but effective mechanisms for working with a relatively large group (220) of students that doesn’t place significant additional demands on them and doesn’t interfere with the module itself. We have some ideas but are keen to hear from colleagues about ideas that have worked for them. And ELESIG seemed a good group to ask.

Following the seminar I recorded a short video summary of what I had talked about:

First Coaching workshop for staff

Today we ran the first in a series of two coaching workshops with university tutors. The aim was to give them enough insight into the coaching process to start to change the type of conversation they have with their students during personal tutorials. Traditionally a tutorial would revolve around the student expressing areas of concern or difficult and the tutor providing them with direction on how to move forward. What we want to encourage is the tutor to find out first what the student is really after, and how they, the student, can draw on their own resources to resolve the issue or problem.

The group of tutors at the workshop are all running course that require the students to make decisions about their learning or career paths. Nick Halafihi and his team are looking to use coaching within their PDP module which builds towards student placement. Student placements are very affective and can give students an edge when it comes to finding employment after university. However they can be equally disastrous if the student discovers they are stuck doing something they don’t enjoy or find uninteresting. By using coaching during the PDP modules students should be able to make this placement choice with much more confidence in both the skills they can employee and their personal interactions.

Sarah Patrick is in the process of redesigning a course within Health that has multiple module options to enable students to create very specific specialisations. Again the choice to the student is critical to their future employability as well as enjoyment with the course on the whole. From personal experiences I have known students to select options because their friends are doing the module or because they perceive it as an easy number of credits. Quite often this is not a solid foundation for developing a career path that is enjoyable or interesting.

Sue Smith and Ian Truelove also attended as they are interested in how coaching can be used to support students and the tutorial process. It was a successful event and everyone seamed to enjoy the activities. Looking forward to the feedback and see if that collates with my thoughts and feelings.

Potential Cohort with Mental Health

Today Janet and I had a productive meeting with Sarah Patrick from the department of Mental Health. We were looking at what aspects of the PLC module and coaching could be used to support a part time degree in this field. One of the problems that senior people in the health sector have is finding time for their own personal development and extending their specialities. Sarah’s team ran a series of modules that covered a range of highly specialised topics. The problem with running these types of modules for people with little time is that recruitment can be very varied, resulting in periods when they are not run at all. These modules are also subject to rigours standards from various accrediting bodies which mean they needs to be some sort of continuation to retain the endorsement.

Sarah is in the process of re-write a couple of the courses and looking at how the process can be improved. At the moment students are required to spend one day a week on campus which for senior practitioner is not always practical. She is looking at providing a more online alternative. The courses are also focused around a portfolio of evidence based on competencies and one has a number of choices the student needs to make regarding the specialist direction.

Our initial ideas is to run the PLC module as a long thin over a year period as a support process for choices, finding evidence and building the portfolio. Coaching linked into the profession development module as both a support mechanism and a peer support mechanism and providing a sense of why the students have chosen what they are doing. Provided the glue for a range of different modules where students are not working within a common cohort.

There is some work to do here, Sarah homes to have a more structured view of what she is a after early next semester. In the mean time we need to consider how coaching and the PLC module can be used to support CPD and PDP. Which fits rather well I think.

Curriculum design, personal & professional development and employer engagement

Today Dawn and I had a discussion around the relationship between personalised curriculum design (in the PC3 model) and personal and professional development (PPD). As we have been developing the Personalised Learning through Coaching module, we have had a lot of interest in the approach from those around the university and beyond (including employer representatives) in its potential to support PPD or personal development planning (PDP). Tomorrow I am going to the Employer Engagement meeting for the Curriculum Design programme so this is timely. We have been working primarily with professionals and professional bodies to date but our discussions around providing personalised curricula for employee learning has raised an interesting issue. The private sector employer in question was very interested in coaching and personal and professional development provision but definitely did not want personalisation: the curriculum they had negotiated was preset with no optionality. But is it possible to provide coaching and genuine PPD opportunities without allowing some element of personalisation?

We thought we’d share our conversation here:

Cluster Meeting – Bolton

Cluster meeting @ Bolton today, good to catch up. The general consensus is that the current economic climate, potential political changes have refocused higher management decision processes which are affecting projects in both positive and negative ways. There is still an overriding concern that a single project is not enough to instigate full institutional change. However alongside this there are several smaller endeavours that have had big up take at various levels.

Tony demonstrated an interesting development for distance learners that enabled them to access and perform laboratory equipment to perform experiments remotely. For me the interesting thing was his use of GoogleSites to build a disposable VLE, using a selection of freely available tools which are accessed via drag and drop chunks of code. Given the enrolment issues we have had with the universities VLE this might be the way forward for running and adapting to the small cohorts on the PLC module. I will have to play with this over the summer.

The afternoon was focused on XCRI and possible adaption to use with module definitions and learning outcomes. This was quickly dismissed as unsuitable. Competencies and learning outcomes will most likely require their own set of attributes.  Discussion moved to the possibility of linking competencies to learning outcomes. Suggested that we need to know more about what research has already been done in this area. It is suspected that there are currently active projects in this area that we are currently unaware of particularly in the international arena.  The need for some form of online resource to host this information was identified. From this discussion I suspect that PLC will be able to input on this debate, usually institutional v industry, by providing the student perspective on how they view their skills and abilities and their perception of what their profession requires.