Developing Point of Learning – An innovative approach to enhancing professional learning
Twining, Rix & Sheehy (2006)
A challenge for the assessment of learners in any context is how it can both reflect the learning that is taking place and serve a role in developing that learning.
This paper will:
- expand upon some of the issues with current approaches used in the development and assessment of professional practice,
- outline the current emphasis upon a life of learning and why we need a new approach to assessment that enhances the development of professional practice,
- introduce and provide a brief overview of Point of Learning (PoL) – a new approach that builds upon our growing understanding of learning and takes advantage of the power of digital technology,
- explain how PoL overcomes problems with existing approaches, and
- develop the theoretical underpinning for this new approach and present the overarching structure in which this new model can be developed. This is illustrated with an example from the schools sector – though it is important to remember that PoL is applicable to any professional development context.
The underlying premise of this paper is that lifelong learning, people-skills and problem-solving need to be developed for our societies and economies to be successful. If we want to rise to this challenge, we need to recognise that learning is a socialised process; learning means we know how to do things with information and skills in social contexts. As a result, we can only support, encourage and evaluate professional learning(1) if we have evidence about changes in practice. This cannot happen in a one-off or series of top-down, pre-ordained assessments or within competence frameworks. It needs to be situated in people’s working contexts. It needs to allow for multiple moments of assessment that include a full range of perspectives relevant to those contexts and support reflection on practice.
This paper shows how PoL provides an appropriate framework to address these issues.