Collaborative work-based learning in Engineering and Business

Aliya Steed, Strathclyde University

Aliya Steed, Senior Learning Technologist, Education Enhancement from Strathclyde University on ‘The art of collaboration with faculty to design work-based learning (Engineering & Business).’ This recording is from our 2023 MiniBash community event which was hosted in Birmingham, England. Videos are for educational personnel only and require a live educational email to watch. You can read a small snippet of the video transcript below. 


Hi folks I’m Aliya Steed, I’m a senior learning technologist at the University of Strathclyde. Today, I want to talk to you a little bit about how we design our workbooks at Strathclyde. Last year, I talked to you about what, because we’d been working on our graduate degree apprenticeships at Strathclyde. This year, I want to talk to you a little bit about the design process and how we get the outcomes that we want from our workbooks, and the artifacts that we need.  

This is PebblePad at Strathclyde. We are up to using it across twelve graduate and degree apprenticeship programs. We use it mainly to allow apprentices to evidence their work-based learning. As we use a single workbook across the whole degree, so people talking about longitudinal workbooks, I feel your pain, and it can mean that our work becomes quite complex.  

We’re trying to do a number of things at once with our workbooks. We support students to collect evidence of their learning, verify student engagement, record interactions between employer, staff, and student. We communicate expectations to students. We provide a place for feedback, and we share resources and content. 

This is an example of what one of our workbooks looks like. This is the DA in the degree apprenticeship in sustainable energy futures. You can see it’s highly structured and makes use of a lot of nested workbooks and worksheets. So, this had quite a lot of design changes and iterative work to get to this point with the workbook. 

Now, I noticed when designing learning with PebblePad, there’s a lot of case studies and ideas and visionary things about what you can do with it and what other people have done. And there’s also at the other end of the spectrum, a lot of click here help. How do I switch this one? And how do I make this work? But what was missing for me was the bit in the middle. The design bit that was, okay, to implement that vision how do I actually put this together, and compounding that, we had the situation that it’s quite easy within PebblePad. If you’re using a learn as you go/ design as you go approach to make some serious mistakes and really, you know, create some problems with your workbooks and mix up your worksheets and so forth. 

Taking a Microsoft fill of things in approach doesn’t work. So how do we address this gap between the vision that we would like to have and the vision that we feel like we have the skills to create? This was really certainly me before I started working with Sarah and now James at PebblePad. 

So, for us the solution has been to engage in the intentional, collaborative design process. And so, myself as a learning designer, I worked together with our academics and with learning designers to plan out our workbooks collaboratively, and this can be over a period of weeks or even months. 






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