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Learning technologies, PGCTLHE and CPD, now and in the future - Southampton

Title: Learning technologies, PGCTLHE and CPD, now and in the future


Barbara Lee, Reader in Learning & Teaching, Southampton Solent University

Collated by: 

Contacts provided by Barbara Newland, University of Brighton, on behalf of HeLF. Interviews conducted and written up by David Baume



Source/type of practice:


Relates to UKPSF:

A4, A5, K2, K4, V1 



The University has invested considerably in e-learning.


A clear distinction is made between the use of e-learning for full-time and part-time professional students at the university. For full-time students, the emphasis remains on the use of technology to support face-to-face learning. By contrast, courses for part-time and professional students make heavy use of blended learning. Each study block, typically a few weeks in duration, has a single front page from which resources and activities are linked.


Great emphasis is placed on helping the students to see the structure of their course. Online materials are written to a consistent set of standards, Solent Online Learning Standards. These provide consistency of student experience across their studies.


Before a particular piece of technology is used, a clear pedagogy imperative for it must be established.

The university's VLE uses Moodle. The Mahara eportfolio system is incorporated. A single student login gains them access to all University services – library, support materials and study guides. Staff undertaking the PGCTLHE and CPD use the same systems.



Two courses are offered, one primarily for new staff and the other for existing staff and concentrating on blended learning. The course for new staff is accredited at descriptor two, and that on blended learning under the Staff and Educational Development Association Professional Development Framework (SEDA-PDF).


Participants keep a reflective diary from the start of their studies.


The PGCTLHE runs in two modules over one academic year. Staff can pause after the first module and resume a year later.


Additionally, a professional development unit (PDU), delivered via blended learning and accredited to descriptor one, is provided for associate staff including librarians and technicians. This is run twice each year.

In each of these courses, technologies are introduced slowly. Many staff new to the University previously worked in industry, and are not familiar with, for example, a VLE. Vimeo is used to make 10 minute recordings for micro teaching.


Both the PGCTLHEs and the PDU are designed to bridge into CPD, which use similar pedagogic and technical processes.



The CPD route is being developed towards accreditation at descriptor three. It is making increasing use of e-learning, although some face-to-face will remain. CPD is a familiar process for many staff joining the University for industry; less so for staff who have been in higher education for some time.


In the future

Hopefully the use of an eportfolio for planning, evidencing and reviewing CPD will be widespread among staff, and a continuing part of their practice, not just undertaken for assessment or appraisal.


The distinction is likely to remain between the PGCTLHE and CPD. Some universities are fading or abandoning the PGCTLHE and will move wholly to the CPD model, to give greater flexibility to individual new staff. However, new staff appreciate the structure and the opportunities to share practice which the PGCTLHE provides. However there is likely to be more use of online resources and some individualisation of routes and pathways within the PGCTLHE.


It will be necessary to maintain the emphasis on pedagogy as part of CPD -- UKPSF provides a structure for this. There is a challenge in making UKPSF meaningful for supporters of learning, in particular working towards descriptor three. This may require some interpretation of UKPSF. Achieving this would be good and inclusive practice.