The new Modular Professional Learning Framework – choose your own professional learning adventure

A flexible new program for educators offers a choice of 19 modules to help you access just the learning that you need, right when you need it.

The Modular Professional Learning Framework (MPLF) is a new and flexible professional development program for teachers and staff who support teaching and learning, to continually grow their teaching skills and practice.

Read more about the design of the MPLF and how and why it works

This article was contributed by Judy Douglas and has been re-posted with permission from Staff News.

It integrates, augments, and replaces a number of existing programs that have been running for teaching and education-support staff, including the two-day foundational Principles and Practice program (last run in February 2019) and the First Year Coordinators program (last run in 2017). MPLF is aligned with a key initiative of the University’s 2016 – 2020 Strategic Plan (strategy 5, initiative 3), which promises to deliver ‘a refreshed framework for professional learning … responsive to staff and faculty needs … including sessional and casual teaching staff.’

Adam Bridgeman, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Educational Innovation, explains the rationale behind the MPLF. “We’re committed to developing our capacity for more interactive and collaborative learning designs. Every educator starts at a different point in their learning journey, and standardised ‘one size fits all’ approaches, like annual workshops, can be disengaging and move at a speed that potentially suits no-one. A flexible use of different delivery modes and a suite of options is really timely.”

Educational Innovation’s Kimberly Baskin is an Educational Designer (Student Experience), and part of the team who developed the MPLF. She says that the ongoing consultation and input from faculties helped to ensure that the program’s content, structure and delivery would meet the need of all educators. “Modules are delivered through a combination of face-to-face and online channels, on a range of topics, including a number that haven’t been covered in previous professional learning programs – but faculties told us were important – such as creating and using educational media, engaging students in lectures and large classes, and enhancing group work.”

This is a program that will give you the opportunity to make the choices you want to, to find the learning that you need.

Professor Alyson Simpson, Associate Dean (Education) for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, says that the flexible and modular nature of MPLF is central to its appeal. “This is a program that will give you the opportunity to make the choices you want to, to find the learning that you need. We’re facing challenges at the university and by choosing flexible professional development, you’ll be able to pick and choose what you need at the time you need it.”

Adam Bridgeman urged all staff to visit the Canvas site to find out more about MPLF. “Whether you’ve been teaching for one year or many years  – seasoned academic, new tutor or educational support staff – there will be something there for you.”

Five flexible learning pathways

MPLF will offer 19 modules, for now, and anyone can take any module, in any order they like. Educators can also choose a combination of core and elective modules, as tailored pathways of 12 modules each for different academic and professional staff. For instance, pathways include:

Pathway Typically for … To …
Principles and Practices pathway … anyone involved in learning and teaching, typically taken as a probation requirement for staff new to the University … introduce evidence-based learning and teaching best practices and contextualise teaching at Sydney


First Year Coordinators pathway … coordinators of first-year units who have not taken this program before or are new to the role … equip coordinators with the skills to manage, teach and support first-year cohorts and teaching teams


Tutor Training pathway … sessional staff who are new to teaching in tutorials, laboratories, seminars and other smaller classes  … upskill staff in innovative and engaging small class teaching approaches and in giving effective feedback


Education-Focused Support pathway … academic staff in education-focussed roles … support academics in improving their teaching and advancing their career
Educational Designer and Support Officer pathway … faculty and centrally-based educational designers and  educational support officers … upskill staff in the use of educational technologies, introduce new technologies and approaches and share best practice

Pathway to fellowship of Advance HE

The MPLF is aligned to the UK Professional Standards Framework from Advance HE. Staff completing one of the MPLF’s pathways will be supported to apply for Advance HE fellowship via the University’s Sydney Educational Fellowship Program.

Sign up today!

Signing up is easy via the Canvas site, with the flexibility to sign up for one or more modules.

Find out more and sign up today

For anyone keen to turbo-charge their professional development in higher education, there is an MPLF Intensive where seven modules will be run over two days, on 23 and 24 July 2019.

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