What is a Learning Developer?

#becomingeducational W23 Becoming learning developers

What is a learning developer?

Can a discipline academic create a learning development space in their curriculum or classes – to facilitate emancptory education – that allows the student to become the professional that they want to be?

Or does the fact of assessment – and the judgement and power that that confers obviate learning development in the curriculum?

Great questions – I hope – and many thanks to Helen Webster for posing them on her blog in the first place!!

rattus scholasticus

‘I’m a Learning Developer’.

It’s not easy explaining what you do. Friends and acquaintances will gain only a hazy idea from this term, teachers and lecturers may feel that they, too, develop learning, don’t they? and colleagues in other student services such as English for Academic Purposes or Librarians may be on the defensive, as you describe in more detail what you offer: ‘but we teach that!’.

I’m fascinated by and enjoy interprofessional working – I love finding out how other colleagues work and how they conceptualise what they do – those glimpses into the arcane knowledge of another profession. Since Learning Development in large part arose from those professions – counselling, disability support, English for Academic Purposes, librarian information literacy teaching, subject teaching – it’s hard to situate what we do as distinct, which can muddy waters for staff and students, and lead to tensions in interprofessional working.

But I…

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[VIDEO] How I Stopped Getting Irritated With People

#becomingeducational W18: We all share the same humanity…
Or how to stop getting frustrated with other people.
This short (3.5min) vlog emphasises that we all share the same hopes, fears, dreams and goals – so when we get angry or frustrated with people (our tutors – other students – the pupils we will teach) – try a little empathy – and learn to let our anger go…
In that vein – what video would you make to help people find their empathy?

Dadosaurus Rex

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Think Schedules and Fun Don’t Mix? Think Again! TUB-Thump 028

#becomingeducational W16: Start again more slowly – and with more FUN!!

The last few weeks have felt like a ghost town… It’s not that the students have not been there – they have. BUT all of them so burdened with so many assignments all seeming to need to be done at once – that no one has had time to smile, to chat, to unwind for a minute.
It has all been stress and hard work and grim faces.
This blog from The University blog (aka TUB thumping) looks at how to plan your work whilst still building in space for spontaneity and fun.
Have a read – have a look – have a listen… and see what you can take away to make your learning that little bit more enjoyable and more successful.
We’d really like it if you also added some of your thoughts, tips and other comments in the Comments box.
All the best for the last half year!!
Sandra & Tom



When we aim to have fun, we want as much fun as possible from the activity. That’s obvious!

But when I heard that scheduling your free time can take away some of that fun, I thought “Uh-oh…How do I deal with that?”

Since I go on so much about making sure you plan your time well–including your free time–I was worried that the sensible advice may be inadvertently spoiling your enjoyment.

Luckily, the study by Selin Malkoc and Gabriela Tonietto also suggests how to have the best of both worlds. That’s what I talk about in Episode 028 of TUB-Thump.

Even better, the study seems to confirm what I recently talked about too. You can combine routines and spontaneity in student life.

In fact, that combo could be the answer to ALL THE THINGS. (Okay, okay. Some of the things.)

Now you’ve got no excuse for not…

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“We Are All Necrophiliacs”: An Unschooling-in-the-Classroom Success Story!

#Becomingeducational W14 Surely those assignments are finished NOW?!

In the wake of so much schooling – and measuring – and reading – and writing …

What teaching, learning and assessments methods SHOULD the university adopt?

How far could we take an “unschooling” approach to university LTA?

How far do we need to be “de-schooled” first?

Well – this wonderful blogpost by the Unschooling Professor gives us some excellent practice to consider…

All the best,
Sandra & Tom

The Unschooling Professor

Best. Class. Discussion. EVER.

In another course I’m teaching this semester, the students write collaboration papers every day, and we use those to launch our discussion. After a handful of readings, we have what I call a “Play Day.” I was reluctant to call it that, since that’s really what I want each of our class meetings to be; the intention is that that their papers will facilitate class as “Play Day” every day. But a designated Play Day means that they don’t need to write a paper that day, and that – I had hoped – relieves them of some anxiety and helps them to feel freer to play. [Freeing students to play is an integral aspect of deschooling, and  understanding learning as play is the foundation of unschooling. I keep wanting to write that post (Part III), but stuff keeps happening in class that I want to share…

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Friday 20th January 2017: Day 5 of #BYOD4L and the theme today is creating

#becomingeducational W13: What to do when the assignments are over?

Oh boy – this is a busy time of year – loads of you are writing numerous assignments – and all at the same time.

At some point the pain has to end – and what to do then?
Well – why don’t you pop into @BYOD4L(Bring your own devices for learning)?

Tonight #BYOD4L and #creativeHE are merging in a tweetchat – discussing creative practice.
Right up your street?
I think so!

All good luck!


Chapel Abstract

Dear friends,

So far we have all been on a high from the beginning of this week. We have plenty of evidence that learning in the open can be exciting, stimulating and engaging. Learning with others is possible if we make it personal and find bridges to connect with others in meaningful ways. When we show interest and also reach out and help others. Last night’s tweetchat was another fast rollercoaster and helped us all to discuss and debate collaboration but also cooperate and collaborate.

The storify from last nights topic on collaborating isHERE

Tonight’s tweetchat will be a joint chat with #CreativeHE

Tonight’s tweetchat will focus mainly on tasks. Creative tasks in collaboration with our #CreativeHE colleagues. You might want to download an app in preparation. Here are some suggestions:

  • Notegraphy
  • Penultimate
  • Photoshop mix
  • Sketchy
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram Stories

Others? This is just a starter for 10. Feel free…

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Take5 #17 – #creativeHE 16-20 January – Join in if you dare!!

#becomingeducational W12 2016-17 Have a Creative New Year!!
Okay – so you have too many assignments to do and so little time. You are tired and frustrated and wondering what’s the point of it all…

Take a few moments each day next week (16-20 January) to get your creative juices flowing – making stuff – getting playful – story telling…

You will start the year refreshed – your skin will glow – your eyes will shine – and your assignments will burst with energy and vitamin C!!

Hope to see you there next week.

You know it makes sense!

Take 5

*** STOP PRESS: #creativeHE new run: 16-20 Jan!! ***

A new version of #creativeHE with a focus on creativity, play, narrative & storytelling and making will be offered by MMU’s CELT in collaboration with London Metropolitan University’s CPED 16-20 Jan 2017.


Participants are invited from across the sector – such that colleagues from both institutions and elsewhere will have the opportunity to learn and develop together within a diverse and distributed community of higher education practitioners. Get together with colleagues who are involved in teaching, supporting learning or development of others with an interest in creative teaching and learning, who would like to explore innovative learning and teaching.

In #creativeHE practical creative tasks will be explored together with related pedagogical theory and literature. Participants will experience learning through play, games, models and stories and actively experiment with such approaches. This will help to further develop understanding, knowledge, skills and practices…

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10 days and counting down to #BYOD4L 2017

#becomingeducational HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Just a little prompt – in case you aren’t quite busy enough… Another run of Bring Your Own Devices for Learning is just about to start!!
Actively join in – or follow the conversations using #BYOD4L.



Happy New Year everyone from all in the BYOD4L team.  We’re getting set to help brighten up the long January days and nights with the return of BYOD4L on January the 16th. Once again we’ll  be spending five days  connecting, communicating, curating, collaborating and creating with colleagues from across the UK and the rest of the world.

We hope you’ll be able to join us in various places across the web over the week. As ever there will be daily updates here, nightly tweet chats between 8-9pm, our Google+ community and well anywhere/anything else that you would like to add.

This year we’re hoping to make the event a bit more personal by sharing more digital stories of the byod4l experience.  We hope that this will provide creative, reflective opportunity for some of our regular participants (maybe something to use as evidence for formal CPD opportunities, check out this useful…

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