The many hats of a Learning Developer

#becomingeducational Year of Learning Development: The Many Hats of the Academic Mentor/Learning Developer

We know that for many people this is the start of an amazing year and an amazing journey… These are the people who are either becoming Academic Mentors or Learning Developers for the first time… and/or those who are incorporating more LD into their current university position(s).

Learning Development offers energy, excitement and challenge: no two days are ever the same – sometimes, no two hours are ever the same; we are kept on our toes from moment to moment …

Here we are sharing Helen Webster’s reflections on the many hats of the learning developer.. Helen captures the energy and dynamism of our jobs – and we hope that you find it as interesting and entertaining as did we.

Please add a Comment – pass it on – keep the conversation going.

Sandra & Tom

rattus scholasticus

Learning Development’s a varied job- we’re never bored! Every hour could bring a different student, studying a different discipline with a different need. And, I’d argue, we too are different each hour in response.

I’ve addressed the question of what is a learning developer from various angles, but this time I’d like to look at how we’re more than just one thing. In our work, we play a number of roles, and wear a number of hats, depending on what suits the circumstances. At the ALDinHE Regional Development day at Newcastle University back in January, and again at a meeting of National Teaching Fellows in LD hosted by Sally Brown and Giskin Day at Imperial College, I encouraged participants to explore this diversity with an activity which looked at their responses to a number of roles. I distributed a number of cards, each with a different hat on. Those hats…

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Teaching Introverts

#becomingeducational Year of Learning Development: teaching introverts
Today we are happily re-blogging Helen Webster’s provocative post on teaching introverts.
Why – she asks – do we insist that people work together?
Why not allow some students to work on their own?
Or – perhaps – signpost your session – introverts one way – extroverts the other… and build the learning form there?
What we particularly like about this post – apart from making us think about the pain we inflict on introverts – is the ultimate point about allowing students themselves more choice in the way that they work.

rattus scholasticus

“Get into pairs and discuss with the person next to you…”

It’s the go-to model for workshop activities. One to ones are by definition dialogues, and we also try to capitalise on the social constructivist nature of learning in our group sessions. The whole of my PGCE beautifully modelled social constructivist principles in the way it was taught. And the amount of independent learning in Higher Education means there’s plenty of time for students to work on their own outside class, if they want to. However, I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with how many of my workshops include paired or group discussion as a first resort.

Why? Because I can’t stand it myself as a student.

I’m an introvert. I like to think things through carefully and work out what I think and how to articulate it before I then bounce that idea off others. I don’t find that starting off…

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