Core Activity 7.1: Professional values
Exploring and articulating professional values and standards that apply to the work of an elearning practitioner.
Definition of values: ‘principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life’ Oxford dictionaries online
Definition of principles: ‘a rule or belief governing one’s behaviour: struggling to be true to their own principles’;
‘a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour’ Oxford dictionaries online
Association of Learning and Technology: Reviewing the requirements of the Certified Membership of the Association of Learning & Technology (CMALT) prospectus the following were highlighted as principles and professional values applied to the role of the learning technologist, defined as ‘people who are actively involved in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology’:
- commitment to exploring and understanding the interplay between technology and learning
- commitment to keep up to date with new technologies
- empathy with and willingness to learn from colleagues
- commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice
To me these show the need to be committed to keeping up to date with developments in technology, policy and learning and to be willing to engage with others to disseminate effective practice. Individuals need to be committed to their own learning and development.
The core areas of activity for the role of learning technologist are themed as: operational issues; teaching, learning and assessment processes; the wider context; communication.
My eLearning context: When I think of my current professional context in elearning as a project manager for a commercial company I identify with these values from the CMALT prospectus, identifying these as the professional principles that underpin our work. I would also consider a set of personal values or behaviours alongside these, specifically related to conduct when working with others, since we are in a very collaborative business:
- respecting others views and welcoming input from others
- being open to and responding positively to feedback
- listening to and communicating with others in a considered and professional manner
- willingness to participate for the benefit of others over self
The way a new entrant to a profession develops a sense of how to behave professionally can be very much influenced by the personal values of those around them, and particularly those they work most closely with, emphasising the importance of encouraging personal values in the workplace that are complementary to the professional values.
This type of value wasn’t represented in the CMALT prospectus but perhaps that’s because they don’t see if as their role to define these more personal/behavioural types of values, respecting the fact that professionals seeking recognition through CMALT come from a diverse range of organisations who will have their own expectations in these areas.
How different are these to other professions?
Chartered physiotherapists: I looked at the Code of Values and Behaviours for a chartered physiotherapist which “reflects the legal, regulatory and organisational requirements and responsibilities that CSP members must fulfil in their conduct and practice of physiotherapy.”
Of the four principles (taking responsibility for their actions; behaving ethically; delivering an effective service) the fourth principle to ‘strive to achieve excellence’ more closely reflected those of ALT in terms of the focus on individual responsibility for developing the profession as well as learning and development:
- seek to improve continuously – including evaluating new developments and applying them in practice; engaging in PDP
- demonstrate innovation and leadership – including transferring and applying knowledge and skills in new situations and contributing to cycles of evaluation, reflection and improvement
- support others’ learning and development – including the learning environment, opportunities and sharing of their own learning
- support the development of physiotherapy – including enhancing the evidence base and implementing this in practice
Values of Counselling and Psychotherapy practitioners: I looked at the values for these professions on the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)website.
The fundamental values of counselling and psychotherapy include a commitment to:
- Respecting human rights and dignity
- Ensuring the integrity of practitioner-client relationships
- Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application
- Alleviating personal distress and suffering
- Fostering a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned
- Increasing personal effectiveness
- Enhancing the quality of relationships between people
- Appreciating the variety of human experience and culture
- Striving for the fair and adequate provision of counselling and psychotherapy services
These values include developing knowledge and its application in practice as well as personal development alongside values that are more focused on the relationship with and treatment of the client which they more fully develop in their ethical principles.
They described the following link between values and principles which I found useful:
‘Values inform principles. They represent an important way of expressing a general ethical commitment that becomes more precisely defined and action-orientated when expressed as a principle.’
After reviewing other professions I think the CMALT values are better described by the phrase from the BACP as ‘action-orientated principles’.
It is clear that professions and organisations vary in whether they describe a code of practice, principles, values, an ethical framework etc which to me seem quite different. I identify ‘values’ as being more personal and moral, linked to behaviours, compared to ‘principles’ that I identify as more likely to be defined as activities and actions related to the conduct of the profession itself.
I have recognised values or principles that are focused on further developing a profession and improving quality; on individual learning and development; as well as those focused on the treatment of and working with others.
I think I’ll need to come back to this after I’ve done some further reading and reflection . . .