• Delivering distance education for the Civil Service in the UK: The University of Chester’s Foundation for Government programme

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (Information Age Publishing, 2009-04-01)
      This book chapter discusses a distance delivered work based learning programme using a dedicated virtual learning environment for the British Civil Service called 'Foundation for Government'. There are currently about 350 students on the programme and at time of writing, the first learners are completing. The programme is designed to equip the broad mass of Civil Servants with the essential skills for modern government. While the programme has undoubtedly been successful, it has also raised a number of issues requiring further research. These are: the involvement of employers; technological versus educational imperatives; learner experience and progression and the assumption of knowledge transfer.
    • Delivering distance learning for modern government: The F4Gov programme at the University of Chester

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2006-11-30)
      The Foundation for Government (F4Gov) programme developed for the Civil Service is an innovative low cost accredited programme of distance learning using a dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) designed to improved individual and hence organisational performance. It is flexible in terms of design and delivery and enables individuals and organisations to devise learning which meets their needs. The emphasis upon integrating theory and practice is designed to reflective practice as well as embed deeper learning associated with higher education. The content of the programme is designed to equip participants with the skills neccessary to deliver modern government. Progress with F4Gov is ongoing as new departments participate for the first time and additional HE providers are identified.
    • Developing a pedagogical model for facilitating situated learning: A study

      Wall, Tony; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (European Association for Practitioner Research in Improving Learning, 2011-11)
      Learning through workplace activity and workplace projects, as part of a university level qualification, is an increasingly common approach for practitioners to study part-time higher education. In facilitating such ‘learning through work’ approaches, it is appropriate to adopt a learner centred pedagogy which is grounded in that workplace, and which creates ‘situated knowledge’ (Lave and Wenger, 1991). As described by Gibbons et al. (1994), this can create ‘mode 2’ knowledge which is situated, messy, problem-based and trans-disciplinary – rather than ‘mode 1’ knowledge which is academic/theoretical, sequential and organised by disciplinary boundaries. In assessing such ‘learning through work’ approaches, we have identified three recurring practical issues: learners focusing on describing rather than critical reflecting on their work for new insight, learners rejurgitating theory, and/or critically reflecting on practice without reference to mode 1 academic knowledge. As a result, the projects and assessments were considered to hold greater potential for change. This study draws on practice and data from the University of Chester’s Centre for Work Related Studies, one of the largest providers of negotiated, work based university-level learning, globally. In order to develop the facilitation of mode 2, situated knowledge, a pedagogical model was developed and refined over a period of two years – with learners across professional fields and disciplines, across different ‘learning through work’ subject foci including negotiated project learning, stress and stress management, communication skills, coaching practice and skills, academic skills, research skills, and so on. Using a cyclic first person action research methodological approach (see Whitehead and McNiff, 2006), the model was used in group workshop contexts and one-to-one facilitation contexts with professionals studying work based learning degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Individual feedback was sought after each interaction and learner feedback and grades for assessments were monitored. What are the findings and interpretations? The University’s distinctive pedagogical model (reported by Brodie and Irving, 2007) provided a starting point for the investigation. In trying to develop an effective and practical tool to explain and facilitate learning in mode 2 knowledge generation, another model emerged. Three distinctive aspects emerged based on Gibbons et al’s (1994) conception of mode 1 and mode 2 knowledge, in the shape of a triangle: 1. theoretical knowledge (mode 2 academic ideas, principles, theories), 2. critical reflection (questioning for new insight), and 3. the workplace (activity in it, as a location/space focus). During the development period, we have identified that learners place a high value on the model to structure own thinking and to help them articulate and structure the assessments. For them, it clearly distinguishes three important elements to pay attention to. Teaching staff have also found it easier and quicker to explain the mode of learning and assessments.
    • Developing effective pedagogies for lifelong learning: The Work Based and Integrative Studies program and its impact on the Forum Mobility project

      Talbot, Jon; Meakin, Robert; Jones, Gary; University of Chester, University of Chester, Forum Mobility Centres (NOVA Publishers, 2016-02-01)
      The chapter reviews the way the Work Based and Integrative Studies programme has transformed the forum mobility Centres into a learning organisation
    • Developing new work based learning pathways for housing practitioners whilst participating peripherally and legitimately: The situated learning of work based learning tutors

      Talbot, Jon; Leonard, Dilys T.; University of Chester (2009-04-30)
      This paper discusses the experiences of two work based learning tutors at the University of Chester in the context of developing work based learning for housing practitioners.
    • Drama and theatre for health and well-being

      Wall, Tony; Fries, Julia; Rowe, Nick; Malone, Niamh; Österlind, Eva; University of Chester; Stockholm University; York St John University; Liverpool Hope University; Stockholm University (Springer, 2019-10-01)
      The rock art of indigenous communities from 20,000 years ago have been interpreted as early indications of how humans have connected performance, in a broad sense, with the health and well-being of their communities (Fleischer and Grehan, 2016). Now, at a global level, there is increasing recognition that drama and theatre can facilitate a variety of health and wellbeing outcomes for an extensive range of groups, not pre-determined by affluence or socioeconomic status (APPG, 2017). In a broad sense, drama and theatre are a constellation of arts based practices, processes, and spaces, which intentionally work with more or less fictive characters, roles, relationships, and plots, in order to generate a wide range of experiences or outcomes (Wall, Österlind and Fries, 2018, forthcoming). Indeed, theatre and drama have been described as “the most integrative of all the arts: they include singing, dancing, painting, sculpture, storytelling, music, puppetry, poetry and the art of acting” (British Medical Association, 2011, p 10), which can help people to understand and then change how they relate to and then live out their own world.
    • Educating for the modern world: a report review

      Rowe, Lisa; University of Chester
      Purpose This review explores the Confederation of British Industry Education and Skills Annual Report (2018), which considers the issues and challenges facing employers in managing future workforce requirements against a backdrop of unprecedented global change. The review examines the evolvement towards the broader competencies of problem solving, resilience, communication and leadership to address concerns of a growing talent shortage. The review incorporates debate surrounding the relevance of student-owned identity, work-based learning, degree apprenticeships, lifelong learning and reflective practice. The purpose of this paper is to share a practitioner’s view of the report and provide a range of recommendations to develop and improve employer and higher education institutions practice. Design/methodology/approach This review combines desk research combining an industry-based perspective with a literature review to effectively consider the implications upon current and emerging higher education institutions and employer practice. Findings There were a number of key themes which emerged from the report. These include the need for effective, employer-led curriculum design, resilience building strategies, effectively situated workplace learning, the creation of time and space for reflective practice and normalising lifelong learning. Research limitations/implications As global change and technology continues to gather pace, skills demands will shift, new programmes and competitors will enter the higher education market and opportunities, funding and resourcing will rapidly change in the context of government policy, impacting upon employer appetite and strategies for supporting lifelong learning. This means that additional findings, beyond those highlighted within this review may emerge in the near future. Practical implications There are a number of practical implications in supporting skills development in the workplace from this research. These are reflected in the recommendations and include the development of flexible, innovative and collaborative curricula and effective work-based pedagogies. Social implications This review is of particular social relevance at this time because of the alarming fall in part-time and lifelong learning numbers juxtaposed with the threat of funding cuts and United Kingdom Government’s failed initiative to expand the number of apprenticeships in the workplace to 3m new starts by 2020. Originality/value This review is based upon one of the first published skills reports of the employers’ perspective within the new apprenticeship policy context in the United Kingdom. As a result, the work offers a unique insight into the emerging challenges and issues encountered by higher education institutions and employers working collaboratively in the twenty-first century business environment.
    • Effective Management of the Tripartite Relationship of Educational Providers, Participants and Employers in Work Based Learning

      Rowe, Lisa; Moss, Danny; Moore, Neil; University of Chester
      An increasing concern amongst many graduate employers has been the perceived poor quality of graduates entering employment. Some of the most common employer criticisms include a lack of commercial awareness, unrealistic work expectations and poor work readiness (Confederation of British Industry (CBI) 2011; Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) 2014). Moreover, many of the skills shortages observed amongst undergraduate students, appear to be equally common amongst postgraduate students, particularly given the forecast that one in seven jobs will require a postgraduate qualifcation by 2022 (Wilson and Homenidou 2012). The inference here is that the UK is likely to face a significant graduate and postgraduate skills gap by 2022 unless corrective action is taken. Growing concerns about business graduate skills are likely to force many universities to re-examine and reconfigure the content of, and their approach to, business education. This chapter focuses on the increasingly problematic and challenging postgraduate marketplace where universities not only face criticism regarding the skills levels of their graduates but where they also have to work hard to attract the most talented students and graduates. Here universities are not only competing against each other, but increasingly face a growing challenge from a range of private sector providers and employer-led graduate schemes. To gain a better understanding of if and how postgraduate provision is evolving to meet the needs of employers in the twenty-first century, we have adopted a ‘360 degree’, tripartite perspective of the postgraduate marketplace, exploring the interaction between the key players—students, employers and universities/educational institutions. Arguably, it is only when all three perspectives are brought together and understood fully, that it is possible to construct a sustainable postgraduate strategy and effectively locate learning in the workplace (Boud and Solomon 2001; Raelin 1997). In addition, this chapter examines the experiences and challenges of developing and managing an innovative 12 month intensive work based Masters programme (the Chester Business Master’s—CBM), which is located in the University’s Centre for Work-Related Studies (CWRS) and draws heavily on the core principles of reflective learning based around a negotiated learning contract. Here the strengths and weaknesses of the programme are examined through the ‘tripartite lens’ of the students, employer and university perspectives. The structure and key features of the Chester Business Master’s (CBM) are explored in more detail in a longitudinal case study presented later in this chapter.
    • An emerging challenge: The development of entrepreneurial resilience for independent self-employment

      Evans, Vicky; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Research in Management Learning and Education (RMLE), 2019-07-31)
      Research suggests that 9-13% (up to 71 million individuals) of the working age population in the United States and the EU-15 rely on independent work for their primary income (Manyika et al., 2016). Even more significantly, this appears to be a growing trend. In the UK, for example, the number of solo businesses with no employees increased by 77% between 2000 and 2016 (Deane, 2016). Moreover, this growth in the proportion of people who are self-employed in this way appears to be a long-term and continuing trend, rather than a cyclical phenomenon, driven by a number of factors including the emergence of online marketplaces and expectations of higher levels of autonomy in the experience of work (Manyika et al., 2016). However, these solo businesses often operate precariously, more vulnerable to changes in their environment than larger businesses. Furthermore, the self-employed independent operates in a distinctive context which presents inherent challenges: the need to fulfil diverse roles to serve a number of clients concurrently; the responsibility for all the decisions about the strategy and operation of the business; finding enough customers or work; and isolation due to a lack of work colleagues (Deane, 2016). This begs the question: how do those who choose independent self-employment develop the resilience to manage its challenges? Entrepreneurship literature highlights the importance of entrepreneurial resilience but has not addressed the context of the self-employed independent. Moreover, this literature often employs a trait-based rather than process approach in the study of resilience and as a result, does not offer many resources to support the understanding of how to develop entrepreneurial resilience (Evans & Wall, 2019 forthcoming). Initial findings suggest the need to recognise that the cumulative development of entrepreneurial resilience is not a simple by-product of experience. It seems that resilience needs to be consciously developed by the individual themselves, involving the development of a capacity for resilient sense-making in relation to their personal ability to enact entrepreneurial processes and to respond resiliently to adverse circumstances. This QIC therefore explores three questions: (1) How exactly do self-employed independents deploy their capacity for resilience in conditions of adversity? (2) how do they turn passing experiences into learning and resources so that the process of resilience encompasses the evolution of an individual’s capacity for resilience over time? and (3) how can business schools prime the learning of entrepreneurial resilience processes to equip their learners for a future that is increasingly likely to include independent self-employment? Reference List Deane, J. (2016). Self-Employment Review An independent report Self-Employment Review: An independent report. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/529702/ind-16-2-self-employment-review.pdf Evans, V., & Wall, T. (2019 forthcoming) Entrepreneurial resilience, in Leal Filho, W. (ed) Encyclopaedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – Good Health & Wellbeing, Springer, Cham. Kossek, E. E., & Perrigino, M. B. (2016). Resilience: A Review Using a Grounded Integrated Occupational Approach. Academy of Management Annals, (April), 1–69. Manyika, J., Lund, S., Bughin, J., Robinson, K., Mischke, J. & Mahajan, D. (2016). Independent work: choice, necessity and the gig economy. Mckinsey Global Institute. Ungar, M. (2011). The social ecology of resilience: Addressing contextual and cultural ambiguity of a nascent construct. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81(1), 1–17.
    • The Empty Box

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Research in Management Learning and Education (RMLE), 2018-07-31)
      We were once accustomed to uncomfortable questions, ideas and concerns about the relevance of management education. Fierce debate not only questioned our methodologies, methods, practices, and the structures of management education organisations, but also our inner most thoughts, perspectives and identities of being a management educator. At the same time, there is an omnipotent, omnipresent, and insidious drive for gain and utility which stains our desires to be relevant. Such desires become boxes which imprison our trajectories of how we think we should act. Yet what happens when we let go of such drives and desires? What happens when we have an opportunity to explore what might be outside of these prescribed boxes? This QIC aspires to explore these questions, with and amongst management educators, what happens when we temporarily suspend the need for utility, and literally and metaphorically play with empty boxes.
    • Enabling and disabling discourses in promoting RPLO policy and practice in Higher Education

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2010-10-25)
      This paper captures and presents some of the powerful and sometimes contradictory discourses, which limit the diffusion and uptake of the recognition of prior learning outcomes (RPLO) in higher education: quality, funding, capacity, and student experience. Each of these is analysed and ‘opened up’ (Derrida, 1978; Bhabha, 1994). In doing so, it aims to ‘open up’ some of those discourses for practitioners and/or leaders to initiate or develop policy and practice in institutions further afield (Kemmis, 2008). The data that forms the basis of this paper was generated through various action research projects in a UK University and multiple development events in the UK.
    • Enabling and disabling discourses in promoting RPLO policy and practice in Higher Education

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2010)
      This paper captures and presents some of the powerful and sometimes contradictory discourses, which limit the diffusion and uptake of the recognition of prior learning outcomes (RPLO) in higher education: quality, funding, capacity, and student experience. Each of these is analysed and ‘opened up’ (Derrida, 1978; Bhabha, 1994). In doing so, it aims to ‘open up’ some of those discourses for practitioners and/or leaders to initiate or develop policy and practice in institutions further afield (Kemmis, 2008). The data that forms the basis of this paper was generated through various action research projects in a UK University and multiple development events in the UK.
    • Enterprise zones: do they create or add value? A rejoinder

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (Henry Stewart, 2014)
    • Entrepreneurial resilience

      Evans, Vicky; Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-10-01)
      The vast majority of businesses in all countries - between 70% and 95% - are micro-businesses, i.e. enterprises that employ fewer than ten people (OECD, 2017). Their impact on the economies and societies in which they operate is therefore significant, collectively acting as important sources of employment, growth and innovation (ibid, 2017). However, the existence of many of these businesses is often precarious, especially in the early stages of their development. Many newly created businesses fail within the first few years of life with mortality rates ranging from around 10% (UK, USA, Sweden) to 45% (Slovak Republic) in the first year (ibid, 2017). As a result, the entrepreneurial activity to create and manage these businesses is very demanding and exposes entrepreneurs to situations which would be expected to create high levels of stress among the general population (e.g. a rapidly changing and unpredictable environment, high responsibility, high workload). The demands of business start-up and ownership could be expected to create a higher risk of mental health problems. Isolation and long working hours could contribute to an increased risk of depression. Moreover, for many entrepreneurs, their business ventures are personal passions and their self-worth and well-being can be intimately connected to the success of those ventures (Murnieks, Mosakowski and Cardon, 2014). On a practical level, the pressures are often high and can create anxiety as personal financial well-being is often directly related to the ability to close the next deal. Furthermore, Spivak, McKelvie and Haynie (2014) highlight a possible “dark side” of entrepreneurship outcomes, finding that habitual entrepreneurs can suffer from symptoms of behavioural addictions - withdrawal-engagement patterns, obsessive thoughts, and negative emotions - arising from repeated venture creation activities. However, at the same time, Baron, Franklin and Hmieleski (2016) find that entrepreneurs experience lower stress compared to other occupational groups when creating new ventures. Baron et al (2016) suggest self-selection effects as the underlying mechanism producing entrepreneurs that are above average (as a group) in their capacity to handle stress effectively, arguing that those who persist in entrepreneurship acquire this capacity, the resilience to handle the stressors and challenges of their entrepreneurial context.
    • Eupneic inquiry and 'quality' in first person action research

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2010-09-09)
      Metaphorically, 'action research' can be constructed as a colourful group of powerful worlds, with different worldviews, including potentially different views of, amongst other things: who we are as inquirers, our relationship with the world/ourselves, what we should aim to do, and how we should get there. One world (or perhaps a beautiful lake within a world?) that has become particularly vibrant is the world of first-person action research (also referred to as self inquiry or self study). A particular strand within this world thrives off the 'lived experience of the everyday'. This strand can gel and entangle productively with notions and connotations of 'eupnea': a medical term for 'normal, unlaboured' breathing. A natural activity. An activity that allows us to create energy, and remove waste. Regulated utWsub-consciously, as well as consciously, second-by-second. It sustains our life, (usually) from the day we are born. Such an entanglement can create a notion of inquiry, which moves from a formal, Research Project space, into a more informal, everyday, live space. A space, which is occupied with inquiry for-life, with-life, as-life, and in-life. Through my ongoing research about 'quality' in such first person action research, a number of themes emerged, including: managing sharp attention-in-the-moment; critical questioning; cycles of action/reflection; exploring perspectives and interpretations; capturing 'thick, live descriptions' to enable readers to 'relive' the researcher's experience; being ethical; the use of others' voices to verify and/or validate; and issues relating to communicating 'findings' to others. More importantly, voices had emerged that articulated the notion of 'quality' in research as "taking an attitude of inquiry". This notion echoes the breathing notion, where the research becomes an ongoing activity, pervading, shaping and enhancing our life over time. This session tentatively constructs the notion of breathing inquiry as practices for life long inquiry as life long learning, and reviews the challenges of such a notion. It shares (and questions) the recent research undertaken on 'quality' in such lived inquiry, and glimpses at specific strategies and tools inquirers can adopt to develop and enliven current inquiries. It is hoped that the co-inquiry in the session will shape the notions constructed above.
    • Evaluating Self Care in an English hospital

      Talbot, Jon; University of Chester (2015-09-07)
      This is the presentation of results from a small scale evaluation of a programme in an English hospital designed to improve staff welfare and reduce sickness absence. The results suggest some success in reducing sickness (measured by 12 months pre with 12 months post attendance) where participants attended follow up sessions. However individuals identified as suitable for the programme who did not actually attend improved their sickness record by a comparable rate to those attending. While the programme appears to have some value, the hospital had no effective strategy for dealing with the biggest cause of sickness - gastrointestinal illness. The study suggests further reductions in sickness rates are dependent upon a multi-faceted approach using data the hospital routinely collects as the basis for effective actions.
    • The Evaluation of Leadership Coaching Through a Lens of Ambidexterity

      Jamieson, Mark (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-07-24)
      Leadership coaching has grown to become a significant intervention to respond to the management needs of an increasingly complex organisational environment. The substantial investment in leadership coaching corresponds with current accountability trends, raising the profile of evaluation; however, evidence shows that organisations treat evaluation in this context as being of low strategic value, characterised as limited and problematic, both operationally and strategically. Specifically, whereas evaluation has primarily focused on current organisational imperatives and financial targets, there is also evidence of the increasing emphasis on a new set of leadership behaviours to achieve competitiveness through adaptive capacities characterised by complex decision-making which balances short term outcomes in known circumstances with longer term capacity building in unknown contexts. In response, this study adopts ambidexterity (the adaptive capacity to balance shortterm-known and long-term-unknown demands) as a conceptual lens to examine the evaluation of leadership coaching and used in depth semi-structured interviews with 12 senior practitioners engaged in this area. The study found multiple incongruences between espoused strategic priorities and evaluation practice in-use, and identified apparent moderators that influence evaluation practice in-use. As such, an exploration of moderators contributed fresh insights into barriers and enablers, including six new dimensions for evaluation problematics, and seven promising movements with implications for practice. More generally, this study also asserts that the lens of ambidexterity presents new opportunities for an expansive exploration of evaluation in terms of a wider strategic contribution and, accordingly, suggests the dimensions of an ambidextrous framework, simultaneously pursuing a workable system that is also strategically helpful.
    • Exploration of the key factors to enable Negotiated Work Based Learning to be accepted within HE - a case based approach

      Weston, Philippa; University of Chester (ASET, 2014-09)
      Using a case based approach, this paper will examine some key factors that appear necessary if negotiated forms of work based learning (NWBL) have any chance of being accepted into the HE provision. The case study examined here is part of a wider doctoral study examining what factors impact on how different universities perceive and locate work based learning (WBL) and particularly NWBL into their HE provision. The case study is based on the University of Chester (Chester) which is generally recognised within the wider academic community in WBL as having created one of the most flexible academic frameworks to support different forms of WBL and NWBL. The study focuses on the experiences, memories and reflections of three key individuals who were involved in the early stages of developing the Work Based and Integrative Studies (WBIS) framework at Chester which is now used extensively to support all forms of WBL both internally within the university and also in the wider external community (Major, Meakin, & Perrin, 2011). The flexibility and sustainability of Chester’s WBIS framework is evidenced by its ability to facilitate an increasing variety of WBL projects from the more traditional HE WBL offerings such as placements, corporate programmes and contract partnerships to projects that are more challenging for HE such as co-delivery arrangements and formal partnerships (Talbot, Perrin, & Meakin, 2014). Drawing on the work of Major, Perrin, Talbot, Wall and Meakin who are all practitioners and researchers of NWBL and WBL at Chester, together with prominent researchers within the wider field of NWBL such as Portwood, Costley and Gibbs, the paper identifies some key factors, such as the need for a champion, the influence of the university’s culture, the relevance of the word ‘integrative’ and the importance of timing. In addition it will highlight that for such initiatives to be effective and sustainable, WBL and in particular NWBL must be underpinned through strong organisational and governance capabilities to ensure the resultant programmes meet the criteria from a quality assurance perspective. The paper concludes by drawing together and evaluating whether the factors which appear key in enabling the WBIS framework at Chester could be embraced by other Universities in their pursuit of WBL initiatives (Talbot et al., 2014).
    • Exploring the Impact of Reflective and Work Applied Approaches

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-12-04)
      The impact agenda is now a global phenomenon with great expectations for ‘transformational’ impacts in the wider world (Gravem et al 2017). Paradoxically, such demands can hinder discovery through the avoidance unpredictable outcomes (ibid), and problematically, there is an over reliance on very narrow conceptualisations of impact, oftentimes adopting the metrics used by research councils or governments to allocate research monies. Such metrics are fiercely debated, partly because of a disconnect with practice, and their significance in creating and shaping industries whose primary purpose it is to administer and optimise the administration of research assessment activity...
    • Exploring the power of high-level postgraduate international partnership work based learning programmes

      Weston, Philippa; Perrin, David; Meakin, Denise; CWRS, University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-05-25)
      This chapter explores students’ reflections of their experiential learning whilst enrolled on an HE work based learning (WBL) international internship programme jointly developed by the University of Chester and the Mountbatten Institute. The chapter commences with some background to help set in context why these two organisations came together to form this unique inter-organisational partnership involving the partner delivering and assessing, and the HEI accrediting the programme. Then using data gained from student evaluations together with quotes obtained from students’ reflective learning logs, submitted as part of their final project at the end of the taught element of the programme, the chapter explores students’ perceptions of what they perceive they have gained from this experience which they can take forward into their future careers. As such it provides a unique insight into the nature and value of this international learning experience.