I have been thinking back to my first ever hands on PebblePad experience. I recorded, in my first ever webfolio that I would like to see the student midwives I taught use PebblePad for evidencing placement learning. This happened for the programme I taught on. I know that up and down the UK and across Australia, undergraduate healthcare programmes are using PebblePad for this very purpose. What we have seen since in the last 3 years is a trend for using PebblePad workbooks to replace the paper based clinical assessment in its entirety, as well as widespread and varied use within and across programmes of study in healthcare.
One thing I always hoped was that learners would see the value of recording their learning in this way and that it would continue throughout their working lives. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is central to healthcare professions and many professions set national standards through their respective professional bodies; introducing the concept of lifelong and life wide learning in undergraduate programmes is thought to encourage the practice.In reality when students qualify they are often more occupied with the responsibilities of being part of the workforce and they become subject to the demands that brings with it.
Mandatory training often becomes a tick box exercise with little or no time to reflect on the learning that has taken place or that might be brought back to their everyday practice. Over time health professionals become experts on reflecting in action (Schon, 1991), they intuitively learn from experiences and apply the learning to manage their everyday work.What they also need to be able to do is articulate this for other purposes; career progression, evidencing their development for their professional body registration and for appraisal.
Templates and workbooks can provide structure, but I am guessing many busy healthcare professionals would also benefit from some support to articulate their learning into meaningful evidence that clearly demonstrates their hard work and development, both personally and professionally. Some employers and professional bodies will provide both, but many health professionals are left to decide themselves how best to capture their learning and development.
Moving forward I would like to develop some support for those health care professionals who buy our personal accounts because their employer or professional body does not provide a system to record, collate and present their learning and development. We have a strong community of users within healthcare who might need a bit of care and support themselves!