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Course Design Blueprint

Progressive Learning


Our progressive approach to learning, or formative philosophy, means that students should be supported in developing confidence, skills, knowledge and independence throughout their learning journey with us. This is supported through different pedagogical approaches, which deliver experiences of learning which are presented below, along with some examples for each of the phases.

 

Negotiated

During the negotiated phase of learning, students hold be able to draw on some of the experiences gained through the guided phase of learning. There will be a reduction in directed learning, with a blend of suggested and self-determined materials and activities. These should encourage students to take a greater ownership of their learning.

 

Independent

The expectation for independent learning at Level 6 sees students begin to take the lead in their learning. They source and critically evaluate resources, materials and methods, independently addressing their learning and development needs.

Guided

Principle

In a guided learning approach we can expect students to need more direction and support in their learning. For some students the transition into University level study can be particularly challenging, so careful consideration should be given to how this transition is supported through guided study. Tutor-structured learning will be more substantial than later years, and detailed guidance provided for independent study. Assessment should be 'smaller', low risk and offer plenty of opportunities for early feedback. Assessment should be primarily formative, and support students in developing confidence in different types of learning activity, e.g. group work and presentations. 

A typical example 

Levels 3 and 4 studies form a transition into higher education through the provision of a clearly structured learning experience, with the emphasis on enabling students to develop, practice and gain feedback on their learning. At this level of study:

  • a quarter (50 hours within a 20 credit module; 300 hours per level) of the students’ learning time is spent in tutor structured learning.
  • Students are provided with structured study activities (typically accounting for another quarter of their learning time) that prepare them for, complement, and build upon tutor structured sessions, employing a learning model in which they have ample opportunities to apply and practice their learning and gain support and feedback on their progress.
  • Students’ non-contact time will also include assessment preparation time of around a sixth of their learning time (30-35 hours per 20 credit module)

Negotiated

Principle

During the negotiated phase of learning, students hold be able to draw on some of the experiences gained through the guided phase of learning. There will be a reduction in directed learning, with a blend of suggested and self-determined materials and activities. These should encourage students to take a greater ownership of their learning.

A typical example

Level 5 study requires students to take more responsibility for how they plan their learning activity. At this level of study:

  • a sixth (33 hours within a 20 credit module; 200 hours per level) of the students’ learning time is tutor structured learning with students increasingly required to take some responsibility for planning and completing their learning activities.
  • Students continue to be prompted in how to make best use of their learning time and have opportunities to gain support and feedback on their progress.
  • Other activtties may include some set learning activities (typically another sixth of their learning time), assessment preparation time of around a quarter of their learning time (50 hours per 20 credit module), reflecting a greater requirement for the students to seek out and review background materials and to tackle detailed and involved tasks and problems.

Independent

Principle

The expectation for independent learning at Level 6 sees students begin to take the lead in their learning. They source and critically evaluate resources, materials and methods, independently addressing their learning and development needs.

A typical example

Level 6 studies require a significant level of student independence in their engagement in learning. At this level of study:

  • a tenth (20 hours within a 20 credit module) of the students’ learning time on taught modules will be tutor-structured learning, with students taking responsibility for planning and completing their learning activities.
  • Students have opportunities to gain support and feedback on their progress.
  • Other learning activities may include some limited set learning activities (typically no more than a sixth of their learning time), assessment preparation time of around a third of their learning time (60-70 hours per 20 credit module), reflecting the requirement for the students to source and make extensive use of broader and background materials, and to tackle complex and sophisticated problems and scenarios.

Supporting Transition

The importance of supporting students as they join the University and progress to their next year of study can not be underestimated. As new students join the University they are encouraged to engage with the Welcome Module (in Brightspace) which explains the experience of being a student at our University and introduces core skills in relation to academic study, personal resilience, wellbeing and growth. Early conversations in each year as part of individual and or group Personal Academic Coaching sessions can also help students to understand the journey ahead of them in the next year, as well as our expectations of and for them, and what they should expect from us in turn.


Exemplary Accomplished (Baseline) Promising Incomplete
The learning experience, both contact time and other planned activity, particularly at higher levels, is owned by both the tutors and the students, working in negotiated partnership to optimise the learning and progression of students.

Module contact time is consistently reduced through the levels of study, and this is reflected within modules, albeit varied to suit modules’ focus and outcomes.

The nature and structure of contact time reflects the transition from guided learning through to independent learning, is consistent across modules at each level, and requires students to take progressively more ownership of their learning.

Planned contact hours tend to reduce over the course of the students’ progression through the course, but this is not evident across modules.

Contact time in earlier modules tends to provide more structure to students’ learning, whilst in later modules there is more expectation for students to use contact time to lead and inform their learning activities.

The planned contact hours for some related modules in different levels exhibit reductions in contact time in higher levels.

The nature of planned contact time varies somewhat through the course, with some adjustment to reflect the change from guided learner to independent learner.

Course and module outcomes and assessments encourage the students’ use of independent learning skills and time to pursue their own passions and interests. There is a planned and structured approach to developing and supporting the students’ independent learning skills, and encouraging their effective use in support of the students’ learning, situated throughout the course. Guidance and support in making effective use of independent learning time is included at each level, and activities designed to support the development of students’ independent learning skills are integrated into the curriculum. Students are given some guidance on how to use the independent learning time included in the course, mainly at the start of the course.