Bridging Programme for Paramedicine Degree Apprenticeship

Martin Frood & Nick Carter (2022) University of Cumbria

Presented at MiniBash UK 2022 

The University of Cumbria offers a Paramedic Bridging Program for clinicians who are non-paramedics but working on an ambulance, enabling them to transition into the second year of a Paramedicine Degree Apprenticeship.   A portfolio is a key element of the bridging program, supporting the evidencing, reflection and assessment of practice.  The traditional paper-based portfolios were problematic and so a digital solution was sought.  Some of the key requirements included the ability for students to access the course throughout the UK, the ability to work offline, easy evidence collation, the ability for feedback to be provided, and a tool which could support internal QA processes.

Consultation with all stakeholders, including students, resulted in the development of a PebblePad workbook to support the student journey. Key elements included logbooks, which incorporated evidence created and signed-off off-line in the PebblePocket app, and embedded elearning activities using Google and Microsoft forms.  Feedback was provided directly into the student portfolios and all QA requirements were also supported within the online process.  Key benefits included the ability to deliver programs nationally, support remote assessment, 24/7 student access, and simple marking and feedback

Evidencing work-bsed learning in graduate and degree apprenticeship programmes.
Aliya Steed (2022) Senior Learning Technologist, University of Strathclyde

Presented at MiniBash UK 2022

The University of Strathclyde offers several Graduate Apprenticeship programmes, one of which, the Graduate Apprenticeship in Engineering, got off to a rocky start. Initial problems of non-engagement, patchy uptake, unsustainable workflow, and lack of confidence with the portfolio approach by both academic staff and learners. A collaborative re-design process was required to get the program back on track. Through initial discussions, it became obvious that they needed to build up confidence and a sense of safety for staff and students who had been confronted with new tools, a new pedagogy, and new practices in work-based learning. Some careful design and support was required together with a fresh look at pedagogy. ‘Pebblegogy’ taught them that the design should be experiential, incremental, open, dialogic and have the student firmly in the driver’s seat. 

The learning design team worked closely with academics to inspire them to own the redesign process.  They stepped through an evaluation of what worked and what needed improvement, reflected on learner perspectives, created a new workbook, restructured how evidence was submitted, added clear assignment submission dates, refocused learning adviser training, and provided scaffolded guidance on evidence collection and the submission process. In the end, their greatest achievement was the success of investing in a collaborative and iterative design process evidenced through the increased usage of workbooks and more programs jumping on board.

Degree Apprenticeships – The Evidence Challenge
ALT Annual Conference 2018
Patrick Viney, Northumbria University

Session Description (edited - please see the 
full session description here)

The UK government aims to introduce 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. A large proportion of these will be degree apprenticeships, combining university study with work-based learning. Degree apprenticeships are co-designed by employers, with the intention of addressing skills shortages in key industries. Universities collaborate with employers to design and deliver programmes of study that enable the apprentice to meet a set of apprenticeship ‘standards’. There is little doubt apprenticeships offer potential benefits for all stakeholders (employer, apprentice and university) if they choose to embrace this approach to upskilling the workforce. (Universities UK, 2017)
Whilst there are benefits for each stakeholder in a degree apprenticeship, there are also significant challenges. These include collaboration between employers and university programme teams; flexible delivery to suit the employer while still meeting the requirement that the apprentice spends 20% of their time completing ‘off-the-job learning’; and creating a synergy between the workplace and an apprentice’s university studies so that there is ‘a more formal link between learning in the workplace and learning in the classroom’ (Mulkeen et al, p.9)

Degree apprenticeships, thus present a complex challenge for universities. There is a need for appropriate technology-based solutions to:
• Encourage apprentices to habitually reflect on workplace learning, relating this to academic learning, and recording this for the duration of the apprenticeship
• Provide a platform for apprentices to collect and present evidence of achievement towards apprenticeship standards
• Provide a platform for apprentices to evidence that the logistical requirements of the apprenticeship have been met, e.g. recording 20% off-the-job training, mentor meetings and workplace visits
• Provide an appropriate learning programme and access to learning resources for workplace mentors
• Provide appropriate access and collaboration with employers in respect of individual apprentice progress

In this presentation I shall demonstrate how our university has developed and refined technology-based solutions to address these challenges, primarily using PebblePad and its associated assessment platform, ATLAS. This presentation will be of interest to delegates who are responsible for the design and implementation of degree apprenticeships at scale in their institution.