Professional Studies Framework (PSF)

What modules are available?

The Framework offers a number of modules that may be used to:

  • accredit and add value existing work-based training
  • Provide a ready-made module to be used in different contexts

The modules may be contextualised by individuals or by employers. PSF module titles include:

  • Analysing the work setting (30 credits)
  • Professional development (30 credits)
  • Leadership and organisational change (30 credits)
  • Action research (30 credits)
  • Introduction to professional skills development (60 credits)
  • Advancing practice (60 credits)
  • Work-based development (30 credits)
  • Work-based research project (60 credits)
  • Learning from work (30 credits and 40 credits)
  • Learning through work (30 credits)

How can framework modules be used?

A number of examples are offered to assist course designers.

Example of wrapping and extending existing training (NVQ)

A private training provider sought to develop a higher education award (Certificate of Higher Education) based around existing leadership and management training being delivered to learners at level 4 through an NVQ. Whilst the level was undoubtedly at level 4 the breadth of knowledge, skills and understanding within the existing provision was not deemed sufficient to meet the award outcomes for the proposed certificate.

Using the modules Introduction to Professional Skills and Advancing practice, the NVQ activities were extended. The modules enabled the course team to develop learning activities that developed reflective practice, engagement with sector issues and knowledge of professional information sources.

Through the modules the opportunity to illustrate work-place learning is undoubtedly extensive. Yet the assessment (projected by the learning outcomes) is not focused on the content of that very specific workplace knowledge and understanding, for that is assessed by other means, here via an NVQ. Assessment for the higher education institution's purposes rather focuses upon the presence of, for example, information skills, the connection of learning to literature, the inter-connection of ideas and the development of learning awareness. Products for HE assessment are generated alongside those for the NVQ assessment for a cohesive student experience.

Example of wrapping and extending existing training (in-house training)

An employer has a group of twenty staff, each with twenty academic credits relating to animal medicine awarded by Harper Adams. The same groups of learners are currently undertaking a business focused module worth fifteen credits through another university. The employer undertakes internal CPD which is at the same level as the studies completed through the formal arrangements with higher education providers. The employer then works with Harper Adams to accredit and extend their CPD programme, current and new activities are mapped against the learning outcomes for 'Learning through work' and a suitable way of capturing that learning through a portfolio is developed: Accreditation of the CPD activity results in a further 15 credits. The combined sixty credits allow an award, a University Foundation Certificate, to be formed. As the focus of the learning for this group has been animal retail, the name of the award is made specific by the addition of a suffix.

Example of building and delivering a PSF module

An employer currently provides some training in leadership for its new graduates and encourages them to implement actions to improve their own practice and the business itself. The graduate employer wishes to develop their CPD and extend it, to achieve accreditation such that its recruits are rewarded for their learning gains. The graduate employer utilises the 'Leadership and organisational change' module - in the first instance as a template to facilitate the formation of its own provision. The module is broad enough to allow the employer to include activities and topics that are entirely relevant to them whilst it is specific enough to chart a course and set out standards and expectations. Through working with Harper Adams the employer was able to develop an online repository to support learning, a set of learning resources and was able to gain access to relevant e-books. The employer used the same approach of course development for its own formal professional development programme. Using the professional development module the provision was expanded and resources developed to support learners to plan, do and review their own development. Combining the credit from these two modules enables the graduate employer to be able to offer a highly relevant development scheme of value to both the individual employees and to the organization itself.

Sources of information, advice and guidance

The team are able to offer specific guidance and advice on use of the Professional Studies Framework. For further information contact:

Dr Lydia Arnold

Dr Lydia Arnold
Educational Developer
Office: 52
Email: Click here to contact Lydia Arnold
Telephone: +44 (0)1952 815137