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PebblePad Health Symposium 2014 – My Notes

Managing a personal CPD strategy: From undergraduate to qualified health professional

13th May 2014

The following are my notes from this conference.  These notes were published live and cleaned up later on.  Comments welcomed and let me know if I got anything wrong or missed anything.


All presentations from the day can be found here


0930 – Registration

Great welcome at Corby Enterprise Centre.  Looking forward to presenting and listening to everyone.

1000 – Welcome to the day: Debbie Holmes, Pebble Learning

Debbie opened the day. Firstly introduced PebblePad, what it can be used for and also reminded us that each users Pebble+ account is private until the user shares their assets with someone or submits to ATLAS. They are even private from the organisation who provides your PebblePad account.  Debbie also introduced Trevor Dolan from Altstrat. 

Trevor introduced Altstrat and explained what they do with a demo available during the day.

Debbie introduced the rest of the team.

[House keeping – guess I shouldn’t blog in the event of a fire!]

Theme of the day, from Undergraduate to qualified health professional:

  • Undergraduate healthcare students
  • Newly qualified every day practice
  • My own CPD
Again emphasis on users taking ownership of their content and taking it with them from education into their working life. 
Debbie shared her professional portfolio that she has to support her registration as a Midwife. 
Today’s presenters will look at:
  • PPad & UG programmes
  • PPad and NHS
  • PPad and professional bodies

1015 – ePAD: the way to go!: Tim Smale & Mike Gibbs, Keele University

Our Presentation: (Sorry can comment whilst I talk)

Great response to our presentation.  Will add details later

1045 – Evidencing of Band 7 competencies: Jacqueline Davis, Kettering General Hospital

JD developed workbooks to cover the competencies. Not being that tech savvy she had training from PebblePad.
Needed to follow a standard (Benner) and allow users to add in evidence. She managed this and is going to now show us what she has developed.

Firstly experienced the issue with long lists of workbook pages on the left.  This is now fixed.
Demonstrated a self-assessment page

Also experienced issues with paper copies going missing but recognised the benefit of PPad in protecting this information.

Utilised the prebuilt P+ templates, e.g. post (like a post-it note) and reflections.

Suggested using ‘Collections’ within P+ to group assets to each of the competences.

received great response from those using it.

NMC not yet accepting ePortfolios. But it might be on their agenda.

A User (missed name) explained the benefits she experienced and how she amassed large amounts of evidence and how the system allows a single asset of evidence to be used with multiple competencies.

Would like PebblePad to be able to highlight via ATLAS which areas of a submission had changed between reviews by an assessor. Reported great support from PebbleLearning in looking at ways of doing this.

Great advocate of tagging your assets and using collections to automatically groups these to allow for quick review of evidence.

Question: Can a nurse take it with them if they leave?
Answer: yes they own it and can pay for their own PPad.

Question: how do you keep a copy for your records?
Answer: The same as Keele – we take snapshots via ATLAS they we keep.

1115 – Refreshments

1145 – The Lessons and Challenges of Implementing an Electronic Portfolio to a BSc (Hons) Nursing Programme : Fiona Powling and Libby Browne, University of York

FP has only just started (1st May) but has been using PPad at another institution. 
Their Story:

  • In 2011 chose to use PPad
  • Pilot went over 2 placements
  • In Oct 2013 all 600 UG students 2500 Mentors and 65 support staff went online with their electronic portfolio – they went for the big bang.
What was involved?
  • Students and academic staff were the easy hit.  They had them with them to deliver training.  Mentors were different.  They went out to mentors and produced documentation to support them.
  • Support and training is ongoing.


Training is now part of their mentor update training.
Clearer and easy to read.
Accountability issues in mentoring.
Highlights mentors timely approach with filling this in – can be monitored if leaving it until the end of placement.
Students still documenting what they’ve done not what they’ve learnt – but this happens with all portfolios.
Students now need to use the portfolio as a learning tool not a recording tool.
Need more computers in placements
LB – student using this.  Likes ability to write as much as she wants and can link her evidence together.  Doesn’t have to submit everything in P+ to her tutor allowing her to make note and reflections just for her own learning.

P+ looks nice – hasn’t been dragged around in her bag between placements.

LB logged in to demonstrate her assets.
(doesn’t seem to tag her assets)

Her assets were all over the place and had to find – now york has given her a structured workbook she can put all of her information in one, structured, place that is easy to find.  This is submitted / shared with her mentors and personal tutors so that they can keep an eye of how she is doing whilst on placement.
Students have been given a manual for how to complete the workbook.

Can now use her portfolio at interviews or, if needed, print off items for them to see.

FP highlighted issue of having to attach external accounts for mentors to the students account is very time consuming.

LB – you’ve got to embrace technology to move forward.

1215 – Elective placements for student nurses: Richard Windle, University of Nottingham

From the school of health sciences. 6000 students, 200 academics, 100 admin.
When revalidating for all graduate profession they took the opportunity to redesign what they were doing. 
Move to paperless approaches.
Student-centred learning approach.
50% of nursing programme is online.

Great for supporting students on elective placements

Showed us an elective plan from a student who’d agreed to share. Notts Uni created a template for the students to fill in the plan, documenting a lot of information.  Feedback is provided from their tutors along the process on how they’re doing.
Another template they’ve created is the risk assessment questionnaire.
Their elective workbook includes things like emergency contact details, flight details, copies of their important documents – e.g. passports and insurance details.

Encourage students to report using all forms of media.  Have run in to issues as to what the students can and can not take photos of.

Give the students examples of what their webfolio might look like once complete and how they might combine these.

Lessons Learnt:

  • Training
  • Staff Development
  • Scaffolding – provide it
  • Support
  • Inspire
  • Embedding
  • Feedback
  • Adaptable

1245 -13.45 ā€“ Lunch

1345 – The 3 Pā€™s: Paramedics and PebblePad: Andrew Kirke, Sheffield Hallam University


AKs introduction to PebblePad was whilst he was in Canada and convert his stack of evidence as a competent nurse onto PebblePad.  He was then able to email UK jobs and send them his full evidence electronically.  He continued to use whilst back in the UK.
He then applied to SHU for a job and in the process he had to show his portfolio. Everyone turned up with large files or boxes of paper – he had a small bit of paper with his URL on – he got the job.

SHU paramedics had engaged with it before he arrived. Small cohort of 20 students. 
They didn’t use the title that was suggested of Combined Reflection and Assessment Portfolio!
They start out simply with a single page workbook.  Each time they need to do a new reflection or other task these pages are added in for them.  This eases them into the environment and how they should work with it.

AK showed they practise placement document:

“God bless the nested workbook”
AK experienced the same issue as Keele that the left menu of pages was too long until the update of nested workbooks.
AK has put space for 10 attempts at an assessed activity.
AK recognised that any assessor can change the text entered by any other assessor.
AK would like the ability to work offline in the future.
AK finished off with giving us examples of how else he uses PPad.

Question was asked about use of PPad on the iPad.  Colin said the app should hopefully be ready by september with basic functions then will be improved.

1415 – CSP ePortfolio: a case of constructive alignment: Gwyn Owen Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

GO gave a brief background on the CSP and said that they provide PPad as part of their membership to support CPD portfolios.
Started using in 2008 in PPad Classic.
By 2011

  • 1st cycle of HPCP CPD audit completed
  • growing awareness of portfolios as a tool for evidencing
  • changing CSP ICT infrastructure – single sign-on and moved to the standard PPad Classic
  • 36% had accounts or those 70% were active

Embedded CSP framework into PPad Gateway
Built templates
Transition to PPad3 in April 2013
Demonstrated the CSP support material and forms for re-registration.
Love that they blogged as a virtual person going through the same process.
Producing flyers showing why they should use the ePortfolio.

CSP have seen a steady grow in the use of PPad. % of non active accounts seems to stay the same.
Have seen fewer frustrated members.  Have seen a shift from ‘What…?’ to ‘How can I…?’
Have noticed a seasonal variation in use

Moving on:

  • Changing context of practice
  • members’ understanding / construction of learning & development
  • Members’ perceptions of / access to / confidence in ICT
  • integration with CSPs other ICT systems.
Question: how do you support your distance users?
Answer: Students are supported by academic members – these then become our main members.  There are champions in most areas and we will go out and deliver training.  We have also been working on other materials for training.

Question: HPCP still don’t accept portfolios in this form – are the CSP pushing them to?
Answer: yes and the HPCP are looking into the process.

Question: Can the students CSP and HEI accounts be merged?
Answer: It is coming.

1445 -1515 ā€“ Refreshments

1515 – 1530 Top Tips for managing CPD through PebblePad: Trevor Dolan, ALTstrat

  • Need to make CPD a part of ‘Who we are’ and nurture a culture of continued learning, even in the environments that don’t have the stick to continue learning.
    • a portfolio needs to be about the learning not the completion of the portfolio
  • Need buy in from people at an operational level.  These people then need to get buy in from the senior teams.
  • Need to have the right systems in place and talking to each other.
  • Need to support staff to reduce IT worry / fear.
  • Access to IT resources need to be improved – but there is always a way!
[5 minute task for those present to discuss ‘What have you learnt today about supporting CPD through PPad’]

Group discussed what they had learnt.
Themes of flexibility and usability cam out.  The need for professional organisations to buy in and support the use of this was raised. transportability and inclusivity themes were discussed.

1530 – Question Time – collaborative question and answer session

Question was ask about BlackBoard and PebblePad Integration. This is possible and some (like Keele) have done this and are also using single sign on.

A question about how wide adoption / 
licensing is within other HEIs was asked.  Answer is it’s mixed between HEI wide and isolated groups. 

1550 – Final reflections

Take aways from today – interesting to see how people are using PebblePad. Multiple uses people are putting PPad to.  How important it is to support people to have a successful implementation. It is often underplayed the work that goes into completing a portfolio.

1600 – Close

Please let me know if I’ve missed anything or got anything wrong.

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