Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Adult Learning Placement EDUC5424

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 40
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

As part of PgDip/MSc Teaching Adults programmes students will have the opportunity to gain real-life experience in the area of adult education through the Adult Learning Placement. The placement gives students the opportunity to relate theory to practice within an adult learning organisation of relevance and interest to them.


Lectures and seminars to be held in the evening and on a couple of Saturdays.

Requirements of Entry



The student will be assessed on completion of the following two assignments:


ASSIGNMENT 1 Placement Teaching Portfolio (4,000 words; 50% weighting)


Introduction (approximately 500 words)


The student must produce a brief introduction to their placement, the organisation and their role on placement. The introduction must include a description of the overall curriculum design and accompanying rationale for the course or session in which the student will be involved as a tutor or facilitator. A note of the theme that the student has chosen to concentrate on for this portfolio should be included, for example, literacies, human rights, health education. The student should also include a description of who the learners are, for example, literacy students, older adults, refugees and asylum seekers.


The Placement Agency (approximately 750 words)


Produce a written analysis of the context of the placement, with a focus on the character of the agency as an adult education provider. To carry out this assessment, the student may use primary documents (as provided by the agency itself) or secondary (e.g. Scottish Government papers related to the development of that agency or sector). In addition, the student should familiarize her/himself with literature (Scottish; UK; international) addressing the context of the student's agency.


The following headings are provided as a guide only (some may not be pertinent in every case). Equally, do not feel constrained by these suggested areas for exploration.


■ Historical development - what are the antecedents of this agency and/or sector? Who have been the major movers and shakers? What major societal trends (e.g. vocationalism; globalisation) have affected its development?

■ Functions - why was the agency established? What purposes does it currently carry out? Do they differ from the past? If so, how?

■ Nature of participating learners - Who are the major learners for this agency? What statistics are available and what do they tell us (or not tell us)? Who is not involved? Is there a deliberate strategy to include some learners or exclude others?

■ Modes of delivery/provision - What is a typical mode of delivery? What variety exists and for what purpose? Who benefits? Are there apparent strengths and shortcomings?

■ Professional development (PD) opportunities - What in-service opportunities are available and to whom? What emphasis is placed on PD? How effective is this provision? How do you know?

■ Evaluation processes - What is evaluated and why? Are these processes inclusive of learner input? What is done with the outcomes of evaluation?

■ Issues faced by the agency - Are these mainly internal or external or both? What are the current pre-occupations of the agency? What limits the effectiveness of operation?


The Design of Two Teaching Sessions (the student need a separate session plan for each session and the word count should be approximately 1000 words for each session plan)


The student must produce a collection of written evidence detailing the following:

A session plan showing the theme of the Session, its purpose, its intended learning outcomes, its structure, the resources needed and a description of how the student will evaluate the effectiveness of Session. Please include a copy of the session plan as an inclusion in the main text of the portfolio or in the appendices, the student's session plan does not count towards the word count total.

A description of the resources or materials the student planned to use, a note of how the student acquired or designed them and a note on whether the student substituted any of these resources for other resources during the actual Session that the student carried out with the learners.

An outline of the student's plan for encouraging learner participation and a description of the learner involvement in the Session.

A description of the student's evaluation method for the Session and its outcomes.

A description of the links the student has made to theory in compiling and running this Session.

A description of a critical incident that took place during this session.

Please include the actual educational resources that were used (this could be a set of worksheets, a snapshot of flipchart paper showing notes/diagrams, a summary of a power point presentation etc.)


Ideally the placement coordinator's observation should be one of these sessions.


A critical comparison (approximately 750 words)

Critically compare the two different teaching sessions. This comparison should include:

The student's thoughts on which Session was more effective and why. Alternatively, if both or neither of the Sessions were effective, then why do you believe this was the case?

A brief description of the student's educational role in each Session (e.g. teacher, facilitator or trainer) and how effective you think this was.

A comparison of levels of learner participation.

A comparison of the links the student have made to theory in comparing these Sessions.

A description and comparison of the results of each learner evaluation.

A short explanation of how the student's experience of developing these two Sessions could influence the student in developing future Sessions.


Appendices for Section 1

1. Workplace Supervisor's Report

2. Placement Coordinator's Report

3. Lesson plans and actual educational resources used in the teaching sessions

4. Reflective Journal (hand written, printed, or other media e.g. video diary - in a style of the student's choice, but attached to the assignment as a digital file) should show evidence of the student's critical reflections and theoretical conceptualisations during the student's placement. The entirety of this journal need not be shown to the workplace supervisor, but a discussion of one or more points within it should be carried out during supervision. The journal is not assessed but is compulsory and should be submitted along with the student's portfolio. The student's journal informs the student's reflection in Assignment 2.


ASSIGNMENT 2: Placement Teaching Portfolio (approximately 4,000 words; 50% weighting)


A Reflective Account


An essay in which a reflective account of professional work and insights gained is integrated with appropriate adult education principles and theories.  In this essay the student should demonstrate the student's critical analysis of the context, structure and processes of the placement. Use the reflective journal the student have maintained throughout the placement as a source of critical incidents which have challenged the student's beliefs and actions about effective teaching, then link these critical incidents with appropriate adult learning/education literature to provide further insight into the efficacy of the student's practice. In addition, identify and explore further emergent issues (psychosocial; institutional; societal) which have had a significant impact on the student's practice and professional development.


These assignments are not intended to be shared with the workplace supervisor or other members of staff at the placement organisation. A rubric will be provided offering the student guidance on the marking scheme for this assignment. 


The main body of the text should have double-line spacing, page numbers and have no smaller than 12 point font.

Course Aims

a) To develop students' skills in the practice of adult and continuing education
b) To assist students to develop a reflective approach to their professional work
c) To provide a structured context within which adult education principles and theories can be related to practice
d) To enable students to develop a critical approach to adult learning contexts

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students should have demonstrated their ability to:

1. Design teaching sessions, units of study or programmes, and/or assessment strategies.
2. Facilitate adult learning, using appropriate teaching and learning methods and materials.
3. Develop effective learning environments and the provision of learning support to learners.
4. Evaluate their own and their students' progress by setting assignments and giving feedback to their students, and by monitoring and evaluating their own teaching.
5. Manage their teaching by keeping appropriate records of their work and student progress, and developing appropriate personal and professional coping strategies within the particular working environment.
6. Critically appraise in writing the learning context/organisation where their placement is located.

These areas of practice should be informed by the following underpinning principles which students will have addressed in the Curriculum Development Course:

· Critical Reflection: Taking a critical approach to practice, reflecting on how plans work out in practice, evaluating teaching, reviewing it in the light of theory, identifying issues and working out strategies towards their solution.
· Learner Focus: focussing teaching on helping students to learn to the best of their capabilities, encouraging learner responsibility and supporting autonomous learning.
· Difference and Diversity: Teaching in a way that takes account of the different prior experience, knowledge and resources brought by students to the learning process, and which attempts to implement inclusive approaches to teaching, learning and assessment.
· Ethics and Equity: Approaching practice in an ethical way that supports equity and equality of opportunity.
· Co-operation and Collaboration: Working in a collaborative and co-operative way with colleagues and peers.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits