Enhance your curriculum by addressing the QAA Guidance on skills for your subject, and incorporating the QAA (2018) Guidance on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

QAA Benchmark Statement

  • Understanding of leadership and team working
  • Ability to use higher level communication skills

Embedding Enterprise

The following ETC tools can help you to deliver these skills in the curriculum

How To Guides

These guides have been selected to build QAA (2018) enterprise skills in your teaching.


A Compendium of Pedagogies: THE USE OF PANELS (QAA 2,6)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Any

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

2Opportunity recognition‚ creation and evaluation 6Interpersonal Skills

Objective:

Ideas are stimulated by exposure to experience. The animation arising from this approach creates stimulation to the affective and co native aspects of learning. Contacts are made and barriers to external relationship development are broken down.

Overview:

A Panel is a means of fronting a debate or forming the basis for a process of questioning or collecting opinion/experience on certain issues, problems or opportunities. The Panel may be composed of 'externals' or may be used as an internal 'review' group for a particular issue. It is often also used as an alternative to inviting presentations from external speakers. 

Activity: 

Panels are often misused in that they become a vehicle for a series of speeches by panel members in response to a number of questions asked by the chair or harvested from the audience; however panels can be used in different ways.

The 'Expert Panel' is used to provide comment on a particular issue about which the panel have relevant experience. Here, the optimum format is where the panel very briefly addresses questions from the audience collected either beforehand or spontaneously. Engagement of the audience in the debate is important. The chairperson's role in stimulating audience participation, provoking cross-panel debate, keeping comments short, summarising and ensuring that the debate is to the point is critical. The panel should be carefully chosen to bring different perspectives to the theme. For example in debating issues concerning the 'entrepreneurial university', a panel might have a Vice Chancellor, an articulate student perhaps representing a student body, an entrepreneur with some experience of interacting with a university, a representative of a regional development authority or local government and someone from the Department of Education.

An Expert Panel can also be used with small groups to evaluate or comment upon the ideas, proposals and plans of participants.

Participant Panels can be formed to role-play stakeholders or simply to comment upon the work of other participants, individual or groups; for example, to advice on marketing plans.

A Representative Panel, for example, a small group of entrepreneurs from a particular sector, or a group sharing a common environment or experience (for example all having taken up external equity) can be used to explore the experience via a process of questioning by participants (often after briefing from programme input).

Skill Development:

The emphasis is upon exposure to tacit learning, enabling assessment of 'how things are seen and done' in the world of practice. If chaired properly it can also provide a strong measure of learning by interaction. It can also provide a vehicle for testing out concepts in practice.

Resources:

  • A Compendium of Pedagogies for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Professor Alan Gibb and Professor Alison Price - Download (PDF) 

About the Author
This guide was produced by Professor Allan Gibb and Professor Alison Price.

Opportunity Spotting Within a Narrative Journey (QAA 2, 3, 5, 6, 7)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Small group (teams of 4-6)

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Presentation Space, Carousel Tables (small working group)

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

2Opportunity recognition‚ creation and evaluation 3Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement 5Reflection and Action 6Interpersonal Skills 7Communication and Strategy

Objective:

  • The learner will discover that they have entrepreneurial abilities and potential
  • The learner will get an insight into the world of 'everyday' entrepreneurship
  • The learner will become more alert to opportunity recognition
  • This is a useful session for the reluctant entrepreneur – those who might think it's not for them, particularly arts students.

Overview:

Activity:

This is a two hour session and it will begin abruptly by creating a case study with the student group.

The idea is to pick on a student and announce in 5 years' time "Jane"(or John) will run a successful arts consultancy. This will raise some surprised gasps and giggles which will immediately engage students' attention. The narrative that unfolds will demonstrate: how Jane started out in one direction but discovered, and followed, opportunities elsewhere, how she took a few risks, showed resilience in the face of setbacks and how she turned to her networks (other students in the room who come into the story) to help her fill skills gaps and capacity problems.

The case study is pre prepared and can be tailored to the cohort. It should be approximately 10 mins long and the story should be plausible – not extraordinary – a case of everyday entrepreneurship. It will be fun as it draws the students into a fictional story.

Following this there is a 30 min breakout to discuss in groups of 3 or 4 to analyse Jane / John's journey: how did he do it, the key factors for success, would you have done it differently, could you have done the same journey, have you encountered any similar situations to John, if so what did you do? Students post thoughts on stickies.

The management of feedback here is important because the students, who are reluctant entrepreneurs, should be led to the explanation that this behaviour is entrepreneurial. The session is to not only identify the behaviour as entrepreneurial but to get the students to reflect on their experiences in similar situations and imagine how they would respond. The idea is for the students to see enterprise as tangible, every day (familiar even), as a series of minor steps and small scale risks and about trying things out to see what happens.

The upshot of the feedback session is that the students 'discover' the entrepreneurial mind-set for themselves – they have not listened to an expert talk about it for 50 mins – and that they identify with it as something they can do themselves.

Skill Development:

The session finishes with 10-15 mins reflection where students have to pledge to do something entrepreneurial that week. It could be something they had been thinking about for a while but had made excuses not to do it. Others may need a little help and guidance from peers about what they might do, so reflection and pledge setting should be discussed in groups. The follow up session (if appropriate) will be when more detailed reflections can emerge and when students can get a measure of where they might be regarding their own development in terms of entrepreneurship and the enterprising mind-set.

Resources:

  • Post-its or similar sticky pads
  • Pens
  • Flip chart

About the Author
This guide was produced by Dr Peter McLuskie, Coventry University. If you would like to contact the author, please use this email address:- Peter.McLukie@coventry.ac.uk.

Reflective Learning Diary (QAA 5)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Individual Task

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

5Reflection and Action

Objective:

  • To reflect upon learning journey 
  • To acknowledge individual or team “learning gain” experienced over time (process; project; task; or period of learning/study)
  • To articulate skill development (soft skills) and personal insights (in team dynamics, personal progression or learning)
  • Option to support future development:
    to provide the opportunity to identify gaps in learning or development and create a personal action plan for personal development and future learning.

Overview:

This task provides an opportunity to reflect on the learning gained during particular tasks for activities (ideally should be of “medium” length, such as intense induction programmes, week long activities or longer learning ‘events’ (modules or years of study). This can be particularly effective in terms of drawing out “change” or learning gain as identified by the learner themselves. 

This approach provides an opportunity to reflect upon a wide range of individual development (including emotional development and confidence levels) as well as recognising improvement in the development of skills.  

Traditionally physical diaries were issued to encourage students to write regularly and informally, however the wide range of multi-media (through smart phones and tablets) also allows students to select their own format (s) or trial the use of a new media tool for this purpose (ideally agreed in advance with tutor to avoid IT issues in viewing).  A learning diary is therefore a tool of reflection which can take a variety of forms.  

Key considerations for the tutor include:

  • media (format options include: written essay or report; video diary; podcast; voice memos; photos/collage; or a combination of approaches) 
  • structure (open; templates; prompts or based on prescribed reflective models and frameworks, or those sourced by the student)
  • formalised base line (questionnaire or status review at the start, to review at the end)
  • inclusive of theory and wider reading (whilst some learning diaries are entirely “personal” and seek to draw out the development of softer skills and personal ‘learning gain’ others seek the inclusion of wider reading and theory development to evidence change and thought)
  • assessment (% within modules vary though typically it is used as part of an assessment strategy, though can stand alone when used to capture and review a full programme year or team task activity.)  

NB: Consideration of how to create “value” is key in determining the role/purpose of this approach within an assessment strategy or within a programme. Typically students value activities that the tutor places a value on, and their currency is marks/assessment.  However as diary is, by definition, a subjective view, and should reflect what the student has heard, learnt and reviewed, it is the student’s own analysis and insights that count, and clear marking parameters and guidance need to be provided to ensure clarity.

Activity:

Issuing this task should be done at the start of the activity that you wish the learners to reflect upon.  Ideally you encourage (or set) answering a range of open-ended questions, delighted to understand their initial position as they approach this learning/task.  This may include expanding upon their prior understanding or life experience, as relevant to this work.
Once the activities are being undertaken, reflective models can be issued or sourced by the students to support their thinking.  However you may wish to provide a set of reflective questions at regular intervals as prompts to their developing thinking.  

This activity can be highly prescriptive, with set timescales at which you expect stages of reflection to be completed (as relating to the task being undertaken) however it is also possible to make this an open task, where the approach and learning is with the student to design and undertake. This allows the learner to explore, source and select their own model for reflection and test its effectiveness as a tool for their development during the process.  This additional skills of research, evaluation and comparative analysis but risks diluting the quality of the reflection if the students place the emphasis upon critiquing models rather than the task itself and their personal learning.  It is therefore important that you reflect the emphasis you wish to seek within your assessment schedule.

To increase the synthesis, and the ability for personal and confidential reflection, you may wish to create a format in which the students regularly capture thoughts and feelings, but keep this as a personal document (diary, blog or video diary) from which the submission is created.  This synthesised version of their learning and reflections build an understanding of their personal development over time and allows for honest and uncensored self-reporting and reflection.  Again the structure/control of the format/questions can be loose and open (providing only sources and reference to guide) or highly prescriptive (working within a template or with specific tools/questions) to ensure that the key elements of learning (including emotional elements and confidence) are a required feature of the submission.

Skill Development:

Personal reflection is a tremendous skill, but is often difficult for students to develop, particularly during a period of study, with little or no external reference points or practical application.  It is therefore recommended that this is an assessed piece, so that the value of reflection is made clear.

It is therefore important that you, as the tutor, place importance upon the development of this skill and take class-time to consider what is meant by reflection practice and how to ensure that reflection leads to learning, what is meant by reflective practice and how to ensure that reflection leads to learning. 

It is also important to consider the formative as well summative assessment within this process, as reflective skills are improved through regular practice, and this form part of your regular teaching.  It is important that you ‘model’ a reflective approach with the students by including reflective questions onto your regular contact with them, and making reflection an explicit aspect of your activity/classroom debrief.  Making this explicit within your teaching will reinforce the student’s understanding of reflection as an activity to be repeated and practiced, as well as help them see how reflective questioning or models can deepen their understanding and build confidence in their abilities.

Resources:

Three stem questions (Borton T1970) were further developed by John Driscoll (1994, 2000, 2007)

  • What?
  • So what?
  • Now what?

 

References:

  • Burns, T and Sinfield, S (2012) “Essential Study Skills” Third Edition SAGE 
  • Gibb’s reflective cycle: from Gibbs, G (1988) “Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods” 
  • Atkins and Murphy Model from Atkins, S. and Murphy, K. (1994) Reflective Practice. Nursing Standard 8(39) 49-56
  • Driscoll, J (2000) Practising Clinical Supervision Edinburgh BailliereTindall

About the Author
This guide was produced by Alison Price.

Enhancing Reflective Practice: Think Pair Share (QAA 5)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Any

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

5Reflection and Action

Objective:

  • Build deeper reflection by working with others
  • Explore and understand process and experience through reflection
  • Develop reflective practice within learning

Overview:

This simple and effective reflective technique works in all teaching spaces and across all group sizes. This requires some individual time, some time working in pairs and then working wider across the group. It is a collaborative process that deepens individual reflection and shares collective thinking effectively with a group of any size.

Activity:

This activity is a cooperative learning technique that encourages individual reflection that builds through three distinct steps:

Think: Students think independently about the question that has been posed, forming ideas of their own or reflecting up their own learning experience or journey. This stage should not be rushed as it is key that individuals take time to think on their own, making notes or reflecting personally.

Pair: Students are grouped in pairs to discuss their thoughts. This step allows students to articulate their ideas and to consider those of others.

Share: Student pairs share their ideas with the full group and the tutor supports or facilitates a group discussion on the consensus of ideas.

This technique works well for reflection but also any open-ended questions or problems that require discussion. Other amends are to "Write- pair-share" which ensures that the individual element of the task is not rushed, or to avoid the third stage of "share" across the whole group.

Skill Development:

You can enhance the presentation skills within this task by asking each person to stand and respond individually, moving round the group – or to create a powerpoint slide to share their individual or joint thinking from the process. However the immediacy of this process, requiring no resources and yet engaging all the learners in reflective practice is very attractive to use in class, with large groups.

References:

http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/think-pair-share/

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/coach_gs_teaching_tips/2014/12/a_think-pair-share_on_think-pair-share_1.html?intc=es&intc=mes

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/InstrucStrat36.html

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/coach_gs_teaching_tips/

About the Author
This guide was produced by ARP.

Developing Self-Awareness in Teams (QAA 5)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Individual Task

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

5Reflection and Action

Objective:

  • To enhance self-awareness in team work through reflective practice
  • To reflect upon individual behaviour and practice
  • To explore individual approaches to team work
  • To develop approaches to improved future team working

Overview 

This reflective activity is based upon 'open questioning' to encourage students to explore their own behaviour in a group. As this activity focuses upon the individual it can be run effectively in any learning space and with any group size, however there are modifications available if the group has worked together before. 

Activity

Students are asked to work alone to complete the following sentences in relation to yourself when working in teams:

My greatest skill in teams is

A skill in teams which I could handle better is

My quality which team members respond to best is

I respond best to team members who

If there is one thing I do too much of, it is

If there is one thing I could do more of, it is

Team members find my manner predominantly

Students are asked to attempt this task individually (3-5 minutes) making notes for their own use.
Then they are invited to turn to the person next to them and ask them 'How did you get on?'.
This question is worded that way in case anyone does not want to talk about the specifics of what they have put down but still talk about how difficult or otherwise they found the exercise.
After they have discussed for 5 minutes or so, the tutor should ask the whole group the question, 'How did you get on?'
Individuals respond by exploring the difficulties they found in answering this and collectively the group seeks to identify three pre-requisites for developing self-awareness. 
These are:

  1. you have to be curious about yourself: many have never really thought about their behaviour or attitude in teams;
  2. you have to willing and able to seek information (feedback) about yourself from others;
  3. you have be prepared to consider and process all feedback; many are concerned about how they will handle the information (inclined to filter out the 'good' news or the 'bad' news)

Modification: If the group have worked together before you can ask them to undertake this task in pairs. First answering for themselves and secondly answering for their partners.

Then they can discuss/compare perceptions, and hopefully learn about the accuracy of individual self-awareness.
This deepens their skill development as will require effective interpersonal skills.

Modification 2: Completing a list of prescribed incomplete sentences can be a simple but very powerful tool for getting started on the reflective process. You can issue similar open questions after presentations or group work for individuals to reflect on. For example:

  • What I like most about my performance is ..
  • I have most difficulty when I ..
  • The bit I look forward to most is ..
  • If I could change one thing about my approach it would be ..

Here are some incomplete sentences for use by a student or lecturer in reflecting on a teaching /presentation session:

The part of the session that I found most rewarding was ..
The one part I would do differently if I had the chance would be ..
I was at my most uncertain when ..
I was most relaxed when ..
I felt anxious when ..
I was pleased with ..
I felt awkward when ..
One part of what I said that I could have worded differently was ..

Skill Development

Developing effective reflective skills requires practice and repetition. These open questions, together with the opportunity to share and comment, create the space for students to review their approach and consider the future lessons for their practice/behaviour. The technique of 'open questions' supports reflective practice and can be adapted to review many of the individual and group activities that students are challenged to undertake. Collective debriefing on personal reflection is also incredibly useful in helping the students appreciate wider viewpoints or to deepen their own practice. However it may be helpful to share clear ground rules regarding personal disclosure during these discussions to ensure that individuals only share elements of their reflection that they are comfortable with. 

Resources:

None

References:

Mortiboys, A. (2012) Teaching with Emotional Intelligence 2nd edition London: Routledge
Paperback www.alanmortiboys.co.uk

About the Author
This guide was produced by Alan Mortiboys (Higher Education Consultant (Emotional Intelligence)).

Your How To Guide Here

If you would like to have your How to Guide featured, please download the template and email the completed version to hello@etctoolkit.org.uk.

We have produced a guidance sheet which will assist you in completing the How to Guide.

If you have any questions regarding completing the template, please Contact Us.

Case Examples

Your Example Here

If you would like to have your Case Study featured, please download the template and email the completed version to hello@etctoolkit.org.uk.

We have produced a guidance sheet which will assist you in completing the Case Study.

If you have any questions regarding completing the template, please Contact Us.

Embedding Entrepreneurship

If you or your students are interested in developing a business idea, becoming self-employed/freelance or creating a business here are some tools to help and also some links to business start-up support.

How To Guides

These guides have been selected to build QAA (2018) entrepreneurship skills in your teaching.


Design Thinking: From creative thinking to enterprising action (QAA1,2,3,5,6,7)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Large Group

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

1Creativity and Innovation 2Opportunity recognition‚ creation and evaluation 3Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement 5Reflection and Action 6Interpersonal Skills 7Communication and Strategy

Objective:

  • Know about a range of ideas and concepts about enterprising mind-set and entrepreneurship
  • Reconnecting with your creativity 
  • Introduction to design thinking and exploring a challenge 
  • Apply design thinking to addressing a challenge 
  • Developing a chosen idea (including proto-typing if possible) 
  • Introduction to engaging others in your ideas (moving beyond a ‘Pitch’) 
  • Introduction to crowd funding and funding the idea from within the student and stakeholder audience (external if possible)

Introduction: 

This session suits larger groups of learners being introduced to the concept of enterprise, creative thinking and solving complex challenges. Working with interdisciplinary groups works best to encourage maximum creativity and adds depth to the chosen solution. An introduction to effective engagement with audiences which moves beyond a pitch is introduced and the session closes with the audience crowd funding the idea using specially designed local currency. 

Activity:

This is best run over a 4-6 hour period and can be split between 2-3 sessions to allow for further research into the challenge. Session starts with some team building activities set firmly within the context of the challenge. This can help students to better appreciate the challenge area and develop empathy with various perspectives/realities in relation to the challenge.  

Then follows some creativity exercises with an introduction to design thinking. Teams then apply this process (as time allows) through to completion with ideally prototypes being developed (if not posters/electronic adverts etc). 

Then the large group is introduced to the need for effective and authentic engagement of themselves and their ideas (moving beyond the ‘pitch’). Individual or group presentations are developed and practiced. Depending on timing and group size, there can then follow a couple of rounds of presentations with a final selection presenting to the whole group. Ideally this should include at least one external stakeholder/s linked to the challenge context (clinical/engineering/finance etc) able to provide authentic feedback. 

It can be fun then to introduce/revisit the concept of crowd funding and provide everyone in the audience with some currency (we have developed some university notes) and get them to fund their favourite proposal. Of course it could be that there will be some real funding available…

Impact:

This works best with some facilitators to help support the various groups as they progress through each activity and often can make a significantly positive impact where groups from different curriculum areas meet for the first time. Utilising external stakeholders to share their challenges can also help to add real value and excitement for learners. Learners tend to enjoy the active nature of the workshop and the rigours of presenting to an external stakeholder with potential solutions to the challenges set. 

Learner outcome:

Tend to see an increased awareness of wider enterprise and boost in confidence in terms of team working, design thinking, negotiation and engagement with audiences. A useful taster for deeper enterprising learning. Skilled reflection is vital throughout and post session/s through on-going programme.  Depending on the nature of the ‘challenge’ this can be extended to a module/programme duration.

Resources: 

  • Team building activities based in context – e.g. Clinical setting/Engineering/Creative/Education. 
  • Usual flip charts and pens etc. 
  • Raw materials for prototyping if possible 
  • Electronic devices to film short presentations 
  • Bespoke Currency for crowd funding session 
  • Prizes 

References:

Brown, T (2008) Design Thinking, Harvard Business Review, June 2008  (pages 85 – 92)
Dweck, C (2006) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, By Dweck, Carol S. ( Author ) Dec-26-2007 Paperback
Krueger, N.F.Jr. (2010) 13 Looking Forward, Looking Backward: From entrepreneurial Cognition to Neuroentrepreneurship in Acs, Z.K and Audretsch, D.B. (eds.), 2nd Edition of the Handbook of Entrepreneurship Research, Springer 
Westfall, C (2012) The New Elevator Pitch: the definitive guide to persuasive communication in the digital age, Marie Street Press  

About the Author
This guide was produced by Carol Langston.

Idea Generation: New (product/service) Development (Group Ideation)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Small group (teams of 4-6), Large Group

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any, Special

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

2Opportunity recognition‚ creation and evaluation 5Reflection and Action

Objective

  • To reflect upon learning journey
  • To acknowledge individual or team "learning gain" experienced over time (process; project; task; or period of learning/study)
  • To articulate skill development (soft skills) and personal insights (in team dynamics, personal progression or learning)
  • Option to support future development: to provide the opportunity to identify gaps in learning or development and create a personal action plan for personal development and future learning.

Overview

This task provides an opportunity to reflect on the learning gained during particular tasks for activities (ideally should be of "medium" length, such as intense induction programmes, week long activities or longer learning 'events' (modules or years of study). This can be particularly effective in terms of drawing out "change" or learning gain as identified by the learner themselves.

This approach provides an opportunity to reflect upon a wide range of individual development (including emotional development and confidence levels) as well as recognising improvement in the development of skills.

Traditionally physical diaries were issued to encourage students to write regularly and informally, however the wide range of multi-media (through smart phones and tablets) also allows students to select their own format (s) or trial the use of a new media tool for this purpose (ideally agreed in advance with tutor to avoid IT issues in viewing).

A learning diary is therefore a tool of reflection which can take a variety of forms.

Key considerations for the tutor include:

  • media (format options include: written essay or report; video diary; podcast; voice memos; photos/collage; or a combination of approaches)
  • structure (open; templates; prompts or based on prescribed reflective models and frameworks, or those sourced by the student)
  • formalised base line (questionnaire or status review at the start, to review at the end)
  • inclusive of theory and wider reading (whilst some learning diaries are entirely "personal" and seek to draw out the development of softer skills and personal 'learning gain' others seek the inclusion of wider reading and theory development to evidence change and thought)
  • assessment (% within modules vary though typically it is used as part of an assessment strategy, though can stand alone when used to capture and review a full programme year or team task activity.)

NB: Consideration of how to create "value" is key in determining the role/purpose of this approach within an assessment strategy or within a programme. Typically students value activities that the tutor places a value on, and their currency is marks/assessment. However as diary is, by definition, a subjective view, and should reflect what the student has heard, learnt and reviewed, it is the student's own analysis and insights that count, and clear marking parameters and guidance need to be provided to ensure clarity.

Activity

Issuing this task should be done at the start of the activity that you wish the learners to reflect upon. Ideally you encourage (or set) answering a range of open-ended questions, delighted to understand their initial position as they approach this learning/task. This may include expanding upon their prior understanding or life experience, as relevant to this work.

Once the activities are being undertaken, reflective models can be issued or sourced by the students to support their thinking. However you may wish to provide a set of reflective questions at regular intervals as prompts to their developing thinking.

This activity can be highly prescriptive, with set timescales at which you expect stages of reflection to be completed (as relating to the task being undertaken) however it is also possible to make this an open task, where the approach and learning is with the student to design and undertake. This allows the learner to explore, source and select their own model for reflection and test its effectiveness as a tool for their development during the process. This additional skills of research, evaluation and comparative analysis but risks diluting the quality of the reflection if the students place the emphasis upon critiquing models rather than the task itself and their personal learning. It is therefore important that you reflect the emphasis you wish to seek within your assessment schedule.

To increase the synthesis, and the ability for personal and confidential reflection, you may wish to create a format in which the students regularly capture thoughts and feelings, but keep this as a personal document (diary, blog or video diary) from which the submission is created. This synthesised version of their learning and reflections build an understanding of their personal development over time and allows for honest and uncensored self-reporting and reflection. Again the structure/control of the format/questions can be loose and open (providing only sources and reference to guide) or highly prescriptive (working within a template or with specific tools/questions) to ensure that the key elements of learning (including emotional elements and confidence) are a required feature of the submission.

Skill Development

Personal reflection is a tremendous skill, but is often difficult for students to develop, particularly during a period of study, with little or no external reference points or practical application. It is therefore recommended that this is an assessed piece, so that the value of reflection is made clear. It is therefore important that you, as the tutor, place importance upon the development of this skill and take class-time to consider what is meant by reflection practice and how to ensure that reflection leads to learning.what is meant by reflective practice and how to ensure that reflection leads to learning. It is also important to consider the formative as well summative assessment within this process, as reflective skills are improved through regular practice, and this form part of your regular teaching. It is important that you 'model' a reflective approach with the students by including reflective questions onto your regular contact with them, and making reflection an explicit aspect of your activity/classroom debrief. Making this explicit within your teaching will reinforce the student's understanding of reflection as an activity to repeated and practiced, as well as help them see how reflective questioning or models can deepen their understanding, and build confidence in their abilities.

Resources

Three stem questions (Borton T 1970) were further developed by John Driscoll (1994, 2000, 2007)

  • What?
  • So what?
  • Now what?
  • Driscoll Reflective Questions (2000) - Download (PDF | 843KB)
  • Gibbs's reflective Cycle - Download (PDF | 843KB)
  • Atkins, S. and Murphy, K. (1994) - Download (PDF | 843KB)
  • Task template for individual (adapted from Reflective Learning Diary Template sourced from Burns, T and Sinfield, S (2012) "Essential Study Skills" Third Edition SAGE (photocopiable; printable) - Download (PDF | 843KB)

References

  • Burns, T and Sinfield, S (2012) "Essential Study Skills" Third Edition SAGE
  • Gibb's reflective cycle: from Gibbs, G (1988) "Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods"
  • Atkins and Murphy Model from Atkins, S. and Murphy, K. (1994) Reflective Practice. Nursing Standard 8(39) 49-56
  • Driscoll, J (2000) Practising Clinical Supervision Edinburgh Bailliere Tindall

Associated Case Studies

About the Author
This guide was produced by Peter Brown (University of South Wales). If you would like to contact the author, please use this email address:- peter.brown@southwales.ac.uk.

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Case Examples

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Additional Resources

Cases Studies of Good Practice

can be found in Higher Education Academy booklet (2014) Enhancing Employability through Enterprise Education Case Studies

Business Start-Up Resources

BOSS stands for the Business Online Support Service, provided by Business Wales. This service provides online learning courses to help people who are thinking about, or actually, starting a business, already running a business or looking to grow their business.

Big Ideas Wales The Big Ideas Wales campaign is part of the Business Wales service, designed to support the next generation of young entrepreneurs in Wales.

Nesta Creative Enterprise Toolkit
Our enterprise resource toolkit contains tried and tested methods for teaching enterprise skills to creative individuals who are thinking about setting up a business. Available for purchase - with access to resources here http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/cet_worksheets_case_studies_and_tutor_notes.pdf