CMALT Writing Group – Reflections

CMALT accreditation recognises skills and experience in learning technology (LT) and shows commitment to professional development in the field

CMALT is a portfolio-based peer-reviewed accreditation, organised by the Association for Learning Technology, for which the University of York is an organisational member. CMALT aims to foster an appreciation of the interplay between learning and technology as well as provide a platform to allow educators and those involved in supporting education to learn from each other.

Colleagues have undertaken writing a CMALT portfolio to:

  • Allow them to reflect on their practice.
  • Allocate time to learning about a new aspect of technology-enhanced learning.
  • Build up evidence of professional development for other accreditation such as FHEA and AFHEA (see the mapping of CMALT to the UKPSF)

Lou Stringer from the Learning Enhancement team in ASO provided the following reflection on her experiences of succssfully completing CMALT accreditation in 2020:

CMALT accreditation recognises skills and experience in learning technology (LT) and shows commitment to professional development in the field. Initially coming to CMALT from a teaching-focused role, it was a starting point to move from a ‘trial and error’ approach to LT to something more considered, and was a good framework to focus my development and improve skills. The process was a lot longer than I expected (nearly two years from starting to the final result), but in that time I learnt so much, and my LT practice is vastly better for it. It’s helped me move to a more tech-focused role, which has been really fulfilling.

The CMALT portfolio writing group run by the head of PDLT Richard Walker, was a huge help in the process. Richard’s expertise and insight were invaluable, and I really enjoyed meeting colleagues in different departments and sharing experience and ideas. Focusing on one section of the portfolio in each session helped to clarify the expectations in that area, which let me reflect on the experience and skills I already had and plan what more I needed to learn or put into practice. Richard’s continued support and feedback after the sessions finished was also a massive help – thank you Richard!

The portfolio covers varied aspects of LT, emphasising the collaborative nature of the LT community. This was really useful to help me develop in all areas and make sure my practice was rounded. The Wider Context section and Specialist Area were especially useful to explore areas in more detail that I might not have done otherwise. For example, it was a great way to further explore accessibility in LT – I already had an interest in this area, but the portfolio helped me take that a lot further and it’s something that I continue to learn about. The Communication section also led to collaborating on a conference workshop with a colleague in a different institution – we learnt a lot from each other, and have worked together on more materials since then. This probably wouldn’t have happened without the encouragement from the portfolio.

If you’re interested in taking a more considered approach to LT, I’d really recommend CMALT and the portfolio writing group as a way to guide your development. It’s a fantastic learning opportunity, and well worth the time and effort needed.

You can view Lou’s CMALT Portfolio online on Google Sites.

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