community of practice

CMALT – Advice for Learning Technologists

by Dave Ruckley (WCPPE, School of Pharmacy)

This week, our guest blog post is written by Dave Ruckley, Learning Technologist for The Wales Centre for Pharmacy Professional Education (WCPPE) within the School of Pharmacy. Dave was recently awarded Certified Membership by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) for a scheme is known as CMALT. CMALT is a peer-based professional accreditation scheme developed by ALT to enable people whose work involves learning technology to:

  • have their experience and capabilities certified by peers
  • demonstrate that they are taking a committed and serious approach to their professional development.

In this post, Dave offers practical advice on completing CMALT, and reassures us that the hard work is worth it! From us all here at ELTT – congratulations Dave!

I submitted my CMALT just before Christmas 2014 after about 9 months of work. This wasn’t non-stop for 9 months, but it was at times an intensive process of writing, evaluating and collecting evidence. The result I got back was a pass without any changes being required, which was a relief!

There is plenty of guidance on the ALT website about how to complete your portfolio, so instead of regurgitating that I’ll instead focus on some personal advice I think may help others when putting together their portfolio and about the process in general.

Take your time

If you rush, your portfolio will come back from the assessor and you’ll have to do more work. As I mentioned, I did mine over about 9 months and it felt like I was dragging my feet at times, but it gave me the opportunity to think of examples of my work, people I could ask for endorsements and to re-write things as I learnt more in my job. Don’t obsess over it though, 100 re-reads will make you numb to it, if you read through and you feel confident with it, stick with it. Ignore the word limit suggestions. 500 words is nothing, write as much as you need to get your point across. Don’t write a game of thrones or war and peace though! If you think your portfolio would benefit from someone else reading it, do it. A fresh pair of eyes always helps.

Evidence

A lot of the projects I work on day to day are very short, like developing interactive learning packages. If you are in a similar position, you don’t always have project plans and detailed reports to supply as evidence. However, there’s a good chance that during these short projects you worked alongside others who generated the initial content, managed the project or were part of your team or may have helped with beta testing and reviewing. If you can get them to write a paragraph or 2 saying positive things about you, that is good evidence and backs up your claims. I also included their contact details in case the assessors wanted to check something. I think doing that shows you’re confident and that it was not just written by you!

Obscure examples

Really think back to all the random little things you’ve done. Things you didn’t really consider major projects or tasks. They all build up to prove your knowledge and experience. I have an A5 piece of paper with a couple of image/audio/video formats written on it, but that’s technically WCPPE format policy. Things like that do help and should be included when appropriate.

Google sites and google docs

These are pretty much the best tools to use when presenting your portfolio. All your evidence can be held on docs and your portfolio is easily accessed as Google sites are public by default. Remember, the assessors are not assessing the design of your portfolio beyond being able to navigate easily and see all the evidence they need to see. The basic templates on google sites are fine for this. Don’t faff about with the look of it too much, focus on content.

Little or no experience

I’m not a teacher, I’ve never really taught anything apart from helping people with IT issues. This could be seen as lacking a key component of the CMALT in terms of pedagogy, however it’s not. You probably have experience that if you look at it the right way, still meets the criteria. You might have more theoretical knowledge rather than practical hands on experience, this is fine too. If you can show your knowledge of the subject that’s just as good as experience.

I’m happy for anyone who wants to look at my CMALT portfolio to do so. You can find it here:

https://sites.google.com/site/davidruckleycmaltportfolio/

Any questions, just drop me an email and I’ll try and help as best I can.

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