Collective Diary 15 October 2023

On the 15th of each month, we are inviting those working in the field of learning development to share their day. Write up what you have done on the 15th of the month (or your nearest working day to this date) (plus reflections) and share it with us via this short submission form. The entries will be shared here on the ALDinHE blog.

In 2010-11 and 2014-15, the ALDinHE website was previously used for a collective online journal by members of the LD community. The collective journal re-launched on the 15 May 2023. You can read the journal entries for each month. The shared experiences and ideas have helped shape CPD resources developed for new and experienced staff, and to identify other areas for future work.

A reminder will go out on the LDHEN list on the 15th of each month. Share your day by completing the short submission form for it to be added to the ALDinHE blog.


Gillian Sproule – BPP University

Today started for me like all other days – dropping my two youngest children at nursery and my eldest at school before hot footing it back home to my desk in time for 9am (luckily, today is a working from home day). The first thing on my agenda is to catch up on my emails – I work part time and there’s always plenty in my inbox when the previous day was a non-working day! After a quick coffee, it is time to deliver an induction session to late starters on our Barrister Training Course. The session introduces the students to the learning cycle on the BTC here at BPP and explains how they will learn during their time with us. I enjoyed delivering the session – the attendees were engaged and asking relevant questions. They were very grateful for the session being run live for them and afterwards I felt that I had made a difference to those students, who would now not be at a disadvantage on the programme because they had started late. After a break for lunch, I spent some time reading about the updated Bar Standards Board Handbook and the Code Guidance for barristers. The new Code Guidance provides clarification on when and why the BSB might have a regulatory interest in a barrister’s conduct during their personal life. This is relevant to one of the modules for which I am module leader and I will need to discuss these changes with my team so that we can incorporate them into our module materials. In the afternoon, I am conducting mock assessments for students on our SQE2 preparation course for aspiring solicitors. One of the great things about my job is that I get to work across multiple programmes so there’s always lots of variety in any given working day. I am assessing the students on their advocacy skills (which means I get to play the Judge for the afternoon!). The students are due to sit the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s SQE2 assessments and the feedback that I give them will hopefully help them to work towards demonstrating that they have met the required standard to pass in that particular skill. I always find this part of the job incredibly rewarding. Once the assessments are all finished and the working day is done, it’s off to get the kids!


I’ve recently changed roles from a Study Skills Adviser, solidly learning and development, into a role that focuses instead on employability and enterprise education and how this can be embedded into the curriculum. Still within the learning and development sphere in my eyes, but perhaps a topic for debate. As the role is both a new role, and new to me, I’ve been researching, asking questions and learning today, as I have been for the last few weeks too. I’ve had a couple of very productive meetings, one to find out more about entrepreneurship (something very new to me) and one with a lovely lady external to my university who kindly agreed to (virtually) sit down with me and share her insight and expertise around embedding E&E education into the curriculum. Much of what I discuss in these meetings feels familiar, different pedagogical approaches, and the importance of critical reflection and self-determinism, but much of it is new too. Over the coming weeks I know that I will need to translate this new knowledge, insights and ideas into something tangible so I’m planning on spending the rest of the day consolidating my learning. It feels oddly familiar in a time of uncertainty and change, to take a moment to think about how best to notetake, and what kind of active studying techniques I can employ to ensure I really engage with the material.

Adam Paxman – Edge Hill University

Monday 16th of October 2023 I had two 1-2-1 face-to-face appointments today. After the last few weeks of intense embedded session delivery and 1-2-1s, plus a bout of Freshers’ Flu, I was glad of some admin time. I also received my Certified Practitioner (CeP) status via an email from Katharine Jewitt at ALDinHE. I struggle with stress, anxiety and low mood, for which I’m medicated. I’d been having a few glum days, still feeling run down from the Freshers’ Flu. A chat with a colleague whilst walking around the lake, plus making a difference in two 1-2-1s, plus the CeP confirmation email, really perked me up. It was a nice, simple task to write a biography for the ALDinHE expertise directory webpage. When I’m feeling down, a straightforward task is a very good thing. I found the process of reflecting on my career(s) lifted my spirits somewhat. Assorted admin tasks followed – for instance, emailing academics about upcoming embedded sessions, and checking for ticket updates in Engage2Serve. More straightforward tasks. More little dopamine hits. In the afternoon I worked with an international student – Student A – from Myanmar. What a wonderful job, where I get to meet individuals from diverse cultures and societies. We mutually and politely struggled with name pronunciations, which meant we bonded immediately. I explained I’d looked up his name pronunciation, but the online resource gave three completely different sounding examples! He pronounced Adam as Edam, and asked if I was Christian. I’m not. Etymologically, my name means dirt. Student A wanted to know about how to structure essays and blogs. It was one of those meat and potatoes appointments where at your worst you may feel you are going through the Learning Development motions. But actually, Student A was so engaged that conversation and guidance flowed naturally. And I was on sure footing, able to signpost him to several useful resources. Also, in terms of my own mental health, perhaps selfishly, it felt really good helping someone. I had a 1-2-1 with Student B, demonstrating how to set up and use RefWorks. Student B was another very engaged, perceptive student with plenty of specific questions. She had double-booked, she explained apologetically, and only had half an hour for the 1-2-1 (usually Information Skills slots are 60 minutes). Then she was due in a white coat for a lab induction! We made good time. I showed her where to find the RefWorks set-up guide document, how to add the Save to RefWorks button in her browser bookmarks, how to create folders, how to import documents and references to RefWorks, how to edit references, and how to add RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM) to MS Word. I also suggested that if she has any questions going forward, she knows where we are. Feeling much better, I picked up my son from school and bought a bag of sour skeletons gummies to share on the walk home. I even pointed out the blue sky. So, there you have it. Learning Development can be good for (my) mental health.

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