Wednesday, 13 February 2019

ALT Inst Rep report | Assessing pilot ACMALT

ALT Institutional Representative report

As a Membership Development Committee member of ALT (now ALT Assembly), back in early 2018 myself and Simon Kear took on the job of investigating what the Institutional Representative (Inst Rep) role in organisations is, does and how ALT can better engage and support those people in that role.  On the 15 May 2018, we published our report 'Preliminary report on engagement with institutional representatives'- see below.  We presented this virtually to the upcoming MDC meeting for members to be informed of.

Decisions on this report are yet to be finalised by ALT.  However, during this investigation at the same time, as the report above, I was inspired by my findings to explore the potential of having an Inst Rep at Nottingham Trent University (NTU).  Whilst there are some individuals that support one and another with their CMALT submissions at NTU, I strongly feel that someone needed to be the official 'go to' person.  Alongside ALT's Inst Rep report, I wrote a proposal on how NTU needs a Inst Rep to better utilise our Organisational Membership, promote ALT activities, grow membership and support members at NTU.  As well as forming a central learning technologists group.  This had been 'shelved' for a few months but after recent conversations about it with my manager and Rachel Challen, now is the right time to bring it back onto the table.  Below is my original proposal that contains some bits from the report above (with welcomed edits from Sarah Sherman), it was still in development not finalised and some information is out of date/needs reworking (had our team focus then).

After a discussion with Rachel Challen on my intentions for this, we had mutual ambitions and enthusiasm for it.  So have decided to work together on how we can take this forward.  It's a perfect time to revisit this work to question it further and flesh it out a bit more.  Plus, the new pathways ACMALT and SCMALT (Senior CMALT) are now launching, which provides additional avenues that members can now progress through.

Assessing pilot ACMALT (Associate CMALT)

I was involved in this project from November 2017, where I attended a webinar on discussing the potential for this scheme.  During the webinar I produced a document 'Early career CMALT – initial questions and thoughts' that included the following excerpts.  Given my background with the Digital Learning Design apprentices, I was strong on targeting younger/emerging learning technologists.

"This is a very quick and brief jotting down of thoughts – so please excuse the simplicity of it at this stage.

Below I have compiled a list of questions and thoughts in terms of the Early career CMALT’s aims, expected/required content and structure.

Early career CMALT is very valuable, especially to beginner/junior/apprentice roles to know more about the context of their role, organisation and wider industry and community.  It is a good initiative for ALT to nurture new and increasing interest from a younger audience.  How they perceive this pathway would be down to how we present and promote it to them.

Questions arising:

  • Who is our target audience for this CMALT pathway?  E.g, junior eLearning roles, learning technologist apprentices, librarians etc)
  • What defines someone as an early career professional?  Is it a choice or are they initially assessed as such by ALT?
  • What is the age range for this CMALT pathway?
  • Costs may be restrictive to an early career individual.  How can we make it attractive and affordable?
  • How do we present and promote this to a younger audience?
    • The language of this framework will need to be revised to make it more enticing and understandable for that age range.
    • We can promote to young people undertaking Digital learning Design, instructional design, graphic design, web design qualifications, attending Jisc or ALT events.  We can engage with those (individuals/organisations) completing apprenticeships in this area, if they are progressing into a LT related role?
  • What would we expect young professionals to know, do and reflect upon in their roles at this stage in their career?  – more below on some ideas of content – which I can draw up at a later date.

Support and guidance:

  • Current CMALT webinars
  • Candidates can attend local SIGs to support their development
  • Identifying mentors/buddies through CMALT webinars and induction to social media and networking – a list of people to follow
  • Create their own SIG (but age restrictions may be a barrier to them attending?)"

In October 2018, I was invited by ALT to act as an assessor to assess two portfolios for the pilot of the Associate CMALT scheme.  This followed on from my contributions to what ACMALT should entail/be shaped like and what criteria should assess it.  This is was a rewarding experience to see the success of what these two individuals have achieved for themselves and their organisation.  The process even awakened my skills of being an assessor and lead internal verifier!  It also helped me reflect on where I could head with my own CMALT journey and the things I needed to change.

I took the following notes of some thoughts I had whilst I was assessing:

  • "The ePortfolios that I was given felt like a typical CMALT submissions (one even included specialist options).  The candidates felt stronger than an ACMALT – one was a librarian and using quite a lot of digital technology (less teaching though) and the other is an established learning technologist and included a lot of evidence (more than needed probably)
  • ACMALT looks very similar to CMALT, minus some of the subsections.  Obviously, this is the direction it has taken, however, I would have expected ACMALT to be more of an introduction into the scheme and ALT. Perhaps, the language of the assessment guidelines and the evidence requirements could be pitched a bit lower than CMALT?  For example, Core Area 2 – some people may not have any background in teaching etc. 

So having some clarity around the willingness to obtain this or how they intend to engage/get involved in the pedagogy aspect would be useful.  This is the same for the other Core Areas, and I would recommend pitching this down a little bit from ordinary CMALT and to show a clear difference."

From my comments, I was told that other assessors had picked up similar points as I did - it showed there is strong appetite for an early career pathway.  I feel this now hangs on how it is marketed to not only younger people, but who have a growing interest in getting involved in more learning technology related work.  This pathway along with SCMALT are launching this month.  Now is the time to spread the word!

A final note - "Identify as an early career professional in #edtech or want to get into it? Having #ACMALT will definitely help you! Happy to help anyone develop a career into #edtech, #eLearning and #instructionaldesign roles. #apprentices #apprentice #InformationTechnology #GraphicDesign."