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Course content and introduction



Welcome to this course which has been produced to assist you with your role as the supervisor/mentor of a student following a course of study that will lead to a professional qualification or a Foundation degree.

Our aim is to provide you with the information you need to support you in your role and contribute to your own professional development as a supervisor/mentor. For the most part, the course focuses on using your competence to 'read' your work environment and to support your student / trainee. However we know that some supervisors/mentors will be required to assess the work of the students they support and we have included a section that will help you to do this.

The course is designed to be modular, so that you can study the sections in whatever order suits you best. We hope that you find it a useful tool in your supervision/mentoring activities and in your personal practice.


Studying the course

A note on terminology...

We know that, depending on the setting in which you work, the terms 'supervisor' and 'supervision' may be used, whereas in other contexts the terms 'mentor' and 'mentoring' may be preferred. We have chosen to use the terms interchangeably in this course to try to make everyone feel included! We hope this is not confusing.

We also use the term 'professional supervision' to distinguish the activity of supporting students in vocational or professional study from line-management supervision.

The course has seven parts:

  1. Course Content and Introduction (this module)
  2. Introducing Professional Supervision
  3. Taking on the Supervising Role
  4. Skills for Professional Supervision
  5. Planning and Delivering Professional Supervision
  6. Getting involved in formal assessment
  7. Reflecting on Professional Supervision

Each module begins with an introduction to the subject which is followed by a series of elearning activities that explore the topic in more detail. We ask you to take part in a series of exercises, readings and examples which extend and broaden these ideas, presenting alternative ways of understanding the topic of Supervising Work-Based Study and how you might apply it in your role as a supervisor or mentor in your organisation.


Where do I start?

A computerised image of a signpost showing module titles on the signs.The signs are at an angle and the text is only just readable, it's just a hint.

The content is divided into seven individual modules (including this introduction) which are listed on the main menu on the course website. Each module begins with the learning outcomes and is structured so that you can study part of the module as self-contained pieces of learning.

You will be asked to complete a series of activities as you work through the course. These activities will help you to prepare for your role as a mentor or supervisor. For some activities, you will be asked to record your thoughts in a Learning Journal. This journal is a Word document, formatted to help you structure your thoughts and it includes question prompts to assist this process.

You will need to save the Learning Journal on your computer and open it whenever you encounter a task that refers to it. We strongly recommend that you do this now, by clicking on the link below, selecting 'Save File' and saving it to a suitable folder of your choice on your computer.


How much time do I need?

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This course should take approximately 10 hours to study, but it has been carefully designed so you can choose your own pace of learning. You have the flexibility to study at the times that suit you: you could complete the course in an intensive weekend or in short sessions over a number of weeks.

The materials are designed for study at your computer screen (but some materials can be printed out to read elsewhere) in short periods -half-an-hour now and then at home or at work, or a couple of hours on a train journey.

This course map indicates the parts of the course together with guidance on how long each part might take, enabling you to plan your time.


Overall learning outcomes

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After studying this course you should be able to:

  • Identify your particular role as a professional supervisor or mentor in the context of your own professions/workplace
  • Understand the range of skills required for effective professional supervision or mentoring
  • Anticipate and deal with issues arising in the supervisory/mentor relationship and situation
  • Identify and develop good practice in respect of the supervisory/mentor relationship
  • Maximise the potential for effective learning in own workplace through professional supervision/mentoring
  • Plan a supervision/mentoring framework for a specific learner
  • Understand the potential role of professional supervision/mentoring in assessment and identify good practice in practice-based assessment
  • Identify your own skill set in relation to professional supervision/mentoring and develop a personal development plan for expanding or developing additional skills.

Now you have familiarised yourself with the course you can continue your study with Module 2: Introducing Professional Supervision.