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Head of Language and Learning
Queen Mary, University of London
London, E1 4NS
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2825
If you were to describe the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to do your job, what would the key items be? What qualifications are needed/would be relevant?
Over the last couple of years there have been some exploratory discussions on this list about the availability of both initial qualifications and professional development opportunities for those in our field. As Learning Development is still an emerging area of HE, there are no traditional routes to careers in this area – nor are there (m)any(?) specific qualifications or courses to train or prepare potential LDers for the kinds of jobs we do. When advertising two Learning Development posts at Plymouth recently, a common question I faced from those interested but feeling unable to be candidates at present was: “What course would I need to do to become qualified to apply for this job?”
A range of characteristics and features of professional history and background recur when LDers explain how they came to occupy their roles. Some of the most common are: teaching English as a second or foreign language; working on access and foundation courses; in widening participation and work with mature students; in teacher training or in careers services.
One of the important issues we have considered in setting up ALDinHE (the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education) is whether or not we should establish our own courses – or act to validate relevant programmes or modules run by individual institutions where we have members. However, SEDA (the Staff and Educational Development Association) already has a suite of courses and a fellowship scheme leading to professional qualifications - e.g. in supporting and leading educational change and teacher accreditation. These courses were developed with the support of the HEA and can link to a claim for meeting the Academy’s UK Professional Standards Framework. There is a named award ‘Student Support and Guidance’ available through SEDA’s Professional Development Framework (SEDA-PDF) which some of you may be familiar with.
To help us develop our thinking around these issues, would you be willing reply to this message to tell the list your own thoughts and stories? It would be useful if you could try to include answers to the question above and/or:
1) What is your current role/job title?
2) How did you become a ‘learning developer’?
3) What relevant qualifications do you have?
4) Would you be interested in a specific Learning Development CPD programme
5) Does the SEDA named award http://www.seda.ac.uk/pdf/index.htm ‘Student Support and Guidance’ suit our purposes?
6) How can newcomers enter the Learning Development field if they do not already have employment in HE?
7) Should ALDinHE work towards the development of new courses for initial training and/or CPD in Learning Development?
With best wishes
Co-ordinator, Learning Development
University of Plymouth