PebblePad – pedagogy, positives and pitfalls: A DIY approach to creating Workbooks

Daniel Scott, Rachel Evans, Nottingham Trent University

An ALT webinar

In October 2017, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) commenced a successful one-year pilot scheme to use PebblePad, with a remit to explore a new digital technology that would enable wider opportunities to support formative, summative and synoptic assessment as well as continuing CPD and Degree Apprenticeships. By April 2018, it was clear that PebblePad was the preferred tool to support NTU’s innovative learning and teaching ambitions and it was announced that NTU would move from pilot to service.  From September 2018 onwards, PebblePad has been rolled out institution-wide, offering a self-service option for all NTU staff and students to access via the Virtual Learning Environment.

In this session, Daniel Scott and Rachel Evans – Digital Practice Advisers from the university’s Organisational Development team – will draw on their knowledge, skills and experience from being the staff-facing ‘PebblePad helpdesk’ throughout the pilot scheme and transition to service.  Daniel and Rachel will provide an overview of three case studies focussing on NTU colleagues who created three very different PebblePad Workbooks for their students. They will explain what worked well, what didn’t and what could be improved as a result of positive experimentation.  The webinar will conclude with their own recommendations around PebblePad Workbook design, developed through their understanding and practice when delivering workshops on a range of PebblePad topics to NTU colleagues from a variety of subject disciplines. This session will be useful for those thinking about the following questions:

  •     Who will create my Workbook for me?
  •     What kinds of Workbooks can I create?
  •     Why do I need to create a Workbook?
  •     When is best to use a Workbook?
  •     Where and how will a Workbook be accessed?
  •     What kinds of Workbooks have been successful for employability, revision and a subject?

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Multi-pronged approach to enterprise-wide implementation of PebblePad

Heidi Blair and Megan Duffy, Griffith University

How do you engage 45,000+ students and 5,000+ staff in practices identified through an institutional-wide initiative? In 2017 Griffith University launched PebblePad as a university-wide Personal Learning Environment (PLE) for students and staff. The PLE is serving as a vital enabler of the University’s Griffith 2020 initiative for transforming the institution. A collaborative effort, the launch team includes faculty-based and central unit learning and teaching staff working alongside the information and technical services group. With governance from an official Working Party composed of members from across the University serving in a multitude of roles, the implementation began with four streams of activity:

  • Curriculum Embedded by Academics - Innovator cohorts and faculty-wide outreach through workshops at faculty and university levels
  • Employability Strategies at the University Level - Developing and evidencing transferable skills that support the attainment of Graduate Attributes at faculty and university levels
  • Engaging All Students through Extra-Curricular Connections - Challenge-based engagement of all students
  • Embedding the PLE into Professional Development - Integrating reflective practice, professional journey planning and evidencing of capability

This recorded session shares the strategies, structures and lessons learned.

Heidi Bair, PhD, Deputy Director and Megan Duffy, Implementation Manager, Learning Futures, Griffith University

How might PebblePad be used to encourage affective reflective practice?

Tim Hinchcliffe (2015),  Keele University

Take away questions:

Should the eportfolio be driven by a sector agenda to support ‘skill acquisition’ built around graduate attributes (cognitive), or should the development of an eportfolio be more about social identify (affectiveness)?  Or can an eportfolio be both?


In achieving the latter, how do we help users create user-generated spaces?

Tim Hinchcliffe, Head of Curriculum Support and Development, Keele University

PebblePad: The story so far at University of the West of England

Russell Brookes (2015), University of the West of England

Take-away messages:

-  Important to have training sessions in PebblePad in the Induction week, this will introduce students to the system and get them thinking about ways they can use.

- Students receive a short refresher lesson shortly before assessment week.

-Ongoing challenge for medical students and NHS mentors to access PebblePad while on site, hoping the new PebblePocket app will help with this.

Russell Brookes, Learning Technologies, University of the West of England