The debate was prompted by research commisioned by the HEA which pointed to the limited evidence of impact on student learning directly. You can see this here and hence the call for more research in this area.
Please look out for the article and use the online discussion forum to respond on 20th November.
In the meantime here are some of the views/questions which really got me thinking during the debate and which I think the SEDA community might also like to ponder:
- Is it even possible to find causal links between our teacher development programmes or even T&L initiatives and learning and teaching units and the student learning experience? How do you separate the programme or the initiative and the other factors which create the learning experience? If it is, when might those links emerge? I began to think about Mentkowski's (2000) Learning that Lasts work for example that tracked students 5 years after leaving.
- If we can't measure impact then are we making ourselves vulnerable in the current political/economic climate? The debate included people who thought that some Pg certs were of low quality, should be closed down, mired in narrow social science paradigms, too academic (because people need teaching skills not scholarship), valued in a theraputic, self serving discourse (like homeopathy) rather than for impact on student learning. Comments included - 'Often it's one man and a dog running these courses designed 'on a wing and a prayer'
- Is it true that our scholarship has focused too much on the impacts on the participants and our roles rather than impact on student learning?
- Do we need programmes or merely spaces for academics to come together and do scholarship of L&T through action research and hone skills and ideas?
- What might the impacts on student learning look like and how might we measure them? Should we not start with figuring out what a good student experience should be like and the work backwards to the educational development required?
- How do we encourage a culture where Vice Chancellor's push L+T and value it?
- How much do we need to work with students to understand the evaluation of their HE learning experiences. UK National Students Survey is too narrow and suggests its about satisfaction not engagement / learning.
- What provision might be shared across the sector? Not all HE providers are in a position to offer PG certs or apply UKPSF - should we be looking at shared services?
- Has there been too much focus on individuals and not enough on programmes?
- HEA don't have the monopoly on UKPSF - what might be the implications in the UK?
- Should the HEA or another body to offer a national programme?