DEP: 2.11 Teaching and Learning

In order to meet the required programme learning outcomes trainees will effectively be engaged in active learning and research through individually negotiated programmes of study. They will also undertake a number of collaborative projects, both benefiting from the group learning and the development of key skills of team working appropriate to practice. All trainees are therefore encouraged to explore and develop an independent working style to be adapted to their eventual place of work. They will also be encouraged to identify knowledge and skill requirements to be pursued through continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities, once they enter full employment with a psychological service. The HCPC sets standards for CPD which need to be met in order to renew registration, and the programme encourages the level of self-reflection required for this.

Different types of learning outcome pursued by the programme are each associated with particular teaching/learning and assessment activities.

Knowledge and Understanding

Knowledge and understanding is developed through problem based learning where learning is driven by challenging, open-ended problems with students working in collaborative groups. Tutors take on the role as “facilitators” and trainees are encouraged to take responsibility for their group and organize and direct their learning. They are also required to present their findings using a range of approaches which will serve to inform the ways in which they may later work with parents, teachers and children.

Learning is also based on seminars from a range of academic and practitioner psychologists, using problem-based learning activities including academic unit and service based project work, supported by reading suggestions and other activities. Assessment is by essays, academic critiques and reports of practical activity and role play simulations.

Trainees will also develop subject specific intellectual skills, with learning implicit in the reading, discussion and reflection expected during the programme, as well as through the coaching and feedback supplied in tutorials and supervision.

Trainees will also be expected to develop subject specific practical skills. In this case, learning is largely derived from supervised practice on professional placements, supplemented by specific teaching input on problem-solving, consultation and appropriate interventions. Here, assessment is through:

  • reports of casework activity (ROCs) in Year 1 and Service Reports with Reflective Commentary (SRWRC) in Year 2, which document professional placement casework and reflection;
  • the casework viva in Year 3, in which trainees present and discuss key casework over the past year;
  • Objective Structured Professional Assessments (OSPA), in which trainees take part in observed, simulated consultations;
  • a work file of practical assignments undertaken in all years.

Research and Enquiry Skills

Trainees will also be supported in developing key knowledge of research design, data collection and analysis appropriate to producing an evidence base to guide professional practice. The skills gained will also inform practice through the fostering of critical thinking in relation to empirical findings. In addition to the development of the research thesis, these skills are used in the different assessments across the programme (e.g., Essays, Small Scale Research Projects, ROCs, Academic Critiques).

Generic or Transferable Skills

They are assessed in the written assignments and practical experiences prescribed in the programme and include, for example, the development of interpersonal communication, conciliation and negotiation, verbal and written presentation, project work and report writing.

Doctoral College Professional Development

Throughout your three years on the doctorate, you will have access to a range of opportunities for training and development. This set of online courses is available to all doctoral researchers via Blackboard and you have automatic access to these – to log in go to Once inside Blackboard, select ‘Research Skills for Postgraduate Researchers’ from ‘my courses’.

For more information about what is available please go to: