Negotiated learning plan: an employer-supported method to develop graduate skills

Hughes, Janet and Waugh, Kevin (2020). Negotiated learning plan: an employer-supported method to develop graduate skills. In: 5th International Enhancement Conference - Building Resilient Learning Communities: Using Evidence to Support Student Success, 03-05 Nov 2020, Online.


Graduate apprenticeship (GA) programmes provide degree-level study for employees, delivered in partnership with employers. Work-based learning is embedded in the BSc GAs designed by the OU, including via a series of Professional Practice modules. These modules incorporate a set of sprints – periods of time during which an apprentice completes agreed tasks relating to their workplace. Each sprint focusses on a single topic to enable the demonstration of core skills; it concludes with a sprint ‘Review and Retrospective’, allowing for detailed discussion of the work just completed. We will show how sprints can develop an apprentice’s ability to reflect upon what has been learnt and plan what will be tackled next – key components of metaskills. Collectively the sprints form a negotiated learning plan (NLP) which can be adapted, by agreement, if flexibility is needed to reflect employability in the specific working context. We will show how an NLP can evolve as the academic year progresses e.g. to account for a change in workplace priorities (often important in the computing world) or a national crisis such as a pandemic, and how it is key to employer and apprentice engagement. Our design of sprint, review and

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