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Newcastle University Reflection Toolkit

A responsive, web-based portal and reflection toolkit developed with Newcastle University, allowing users to reflect on activities against the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF).

The Reflection Toolkit is a proactive, web-based portal aimed at improving the professional development experience of Newcastle University staff. The toolkit follows the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF), an internationally recognised framework for benchmarking success within HE teaching and learning support.

The team at Newcastle University comprised Dr James Field, Dr Rosa Spencer & Dr Richard Young. Working in partnership we designed, developed and deployed a cost-effective, minimum viable product allowing users to log, reflect, review and export activities relating to their professional work. The aim for the portal was for users to quickly, simply and routinely engage with the toolkit through their desktop, tablet or mobile.

In particular, the design and build of the portal focused on the following objectives:

  • Enable easy logging of activities.
  • Provide a framework for the reflective process.
  • Encourage effective and habitual use of the toolkit.
  • Easy validation through a simple data export.

Newcastle University is committed to helping their staff develop their skills in learning and teaching and to improving teaching quality, in line with the professional standards and behaviours set by the UKPSF. By creating this personal development platform, they have given their staff the ability to chart their growth against the set framework in a way that is intuitive, easy to maintain and user-friendly.

Designing for Experience

Prior to the platform, staff would record professional activities themselves within a written development portfolio. Often this exercise was responsive rather than a longitudinal and habitual activity. Further, there was no easy way for staff to visualise how their activities mapped to the UKPSF. The idea for the Reflection Toolkit was, therefore, a challenging one, as nothing of its kind existed or had been done before. From a UX design perspective, this meant that there was no established user base to align with.

With the objectives of the project clear in mind, a collaborative process began between ourselves and the project team at Newcastle University to hone in on the look and function of the portal. Using a mix of existing knowledge and experience, our team assisted in guiding the designs towards a simple, non-ambiguous and practical MVP. As such, an element sheet was drafted up to reflect and compare on styles and developments, acting as an inventory for ideas and assets.

We really enjoyed the process of working with Komodo to develop the Reflection Toolkit. They worked with us to really understand what we were trying to achieve; used their expertise to shape the technical elements; and ensured that the final product was clean, accessible, and user-friendly, whilst still delivering the important developmental aspects we wanted.

Dr Rosa Spencer

Professional Development Manager, Newcastle University

Cost-effective, minimum viable product Image

Cost-effective, minimum viable product

Easy logging of activities and habitual use Image

Easy logging of activities and habitual use

100% of respondents found the toolkit useful in guiding the process of reflection Image

100% of respondents found the toolkit useful in guiding the process of reflection

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