The role of virtual placements in promoting self-regulated learning

Stakeholder experiences of an online learning community during the Covid pandemic




self-regulated learning, virtual placement, pivot to online, Covid 19, textile conservation


In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, universities had to shift much of their teaching online. This presented a particular challenge for work placements, which are inherently practical. This qualitative case study presents the outcomes of an evaluation of student, teacher and placement provider experiences of a virtual placement in textile conservation. A model of self-regulated learning used in clinical education was used as a lens through which to make sense of stakeholder experiences, in terms of supporting preparation for the workplace and setting of learning goals, facilitation of appropriate learning strategies, feedback from different stakeholders, and the need to support reflection on learning. Lessons learned include the need for earlier conversations between stakeholders to clarify their roles and support the successful attainment of learning goals, provide critical as well as motivational feedback, facilitate opportunities for peer interactions, use of a limited set of learning technology platforms in consistent ways, and formalising a mid-point check in with all stakeholders. While higher education in the UK has largely reverted to face-to-face learning, the benefits of virtual placements are highlighted. In the ever-changing landscape of higher education, a framework for supporting virtual placements has been offered.

Author Biographies

Karen Thompson, University of Glasgow

Karen Thompson is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Convenor for the MPhil Textile Conservation, which combines professional and academic skills education with strong links with the wider profession. Karen’s research focuses on learning in a professional and academic context.

Vicki Dale, University of Glasgow

Vicki Dale is a Senior Lecturer/Adviser in Academic and Digital Development, specialising in active and blended learning, with a focus on curriculum/learning design and evaluation. She principally teaches on the PGCAP/MEd in Academic Practice at UofG, is a member of the Active Learning Network (co-lead for the UofG satellite group), and a member of the organising committee for the Association for Learning Technology Scotland.


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