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Sue Thompson

Page history last edited by sceptrept 11 years, 4 months ago

Developing leading learners, learning to lead

Sue Thompson, Tim Cable and Phil Vickerman, Liverpool John Moores University


Liverpool John Moores University is implementing a major strategic initiative intended to equip all its students with the higher level skills and attributes important for employment and life long learning. At the heart of this lies the development of students’ self awareness, self confidence and self efficacy and the ability to make a difference and make things happen.

This employability skills agenda has, however, highlighted a range of curriculum design challenges for the teaching, learning and assessing of what have been described as the ‘wicked’ competences or the ‘soft’ skills, graduate attributes and complex achievements highly valued by employers. These competences are often hard to define and problematic to teach and assess.


Employers that have worked with the university to develop ‘World of Work’ skills tell us that they want emotionally intelligent employees who can demonstrate a clear awareness of organisational culture and ethics, work related behavioural skills and professionalism.  In other words, they want enterprising learners with leadership qualities.


This paper will describe research being undertaken as part of a Higher Education Academy funded National Teaching Fellowship project ‘Developing Learning and Assessment Opportunities for a Complex World’.  In examining the role of the curriculum and assessment in developing enterprising learners for a complex world, the project is using ‘close up’ research to illuminate the problem by identifying dissonance and congruence in stakeholder perceptions and understandings. 


How can teaching, learning and assessment practices take more heed of workplace needs and how can the workplace be better informed of HE objectives?   HE, employers and students speak their own languages and one of the project’s aim will be to promote two- way knowledge transfer that provides a means of bridging understandings (and reducing dissonance and misconceptions)


The discipline focus of the research spans subject areas in the Faculties of Science and Education that have designated Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) status for their track records in work based learning and applied enterprise activity. The Centre for Excellence in Leadership and Professional Learning is developing innovative approaches to learning designed to enhance students’ employability, leadership and entrepreneurial skills. 


Research outputs will inform curriculum intervention strategies that will more closely align learning and assessment opportunities and bridge perceived gaps in stakeholder perceptions and understandings of the employability skills and competences expected of 21st century graduates.


Key words : Employability skills, close-up research,

Links:  www.ljmu.ac.uk/cetl and www.ljmu.ac.uk/ntf         




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