Directed Learning

Throughout this programme there is an emphasis upon you taking responsibility for some of your own education as independent learners. Your University teaching is timetabled, however study above and beyond these days, as with all University programmes, will be expected.


Work-base directed learning:

In order to support your University teaching and independent study, there are also workplace directed learning days in which you will undertake activities given to you that build on the University teaching sessions. You are not in University for these days as the tasks you carry out are most suited to you undertaking work with other trainees and also directed learning/skills practice rather than being in a classroom setting. These days are timetabled sessions and mandatory parts of your learning. Therefore they should be considered equally as important as the days that you attend the University. The days are full days equivalent to the hours you would be in University if you were undertaking these tasks and are part of your University requirements to pass the award. Carrying out these tasks helps to consolidate, refine and deepen your knowledge as well as helping you practice your clinical skills to work towards being competent in the clinical methods.

The days are full days equivalent to the hours you would be in University if you were undertaking these tasks and are part of your University requirements to pass the award. The content of these sessions is specified within the teaching timetable. You will be required to submit evidence that you have worked through the content of these days to the University, and you will be required to complete a self-reflection handout on these days.

These days count towards your minimum attendance requirement of the programme.  We have a responsibility to ensure that you are able to undertake these days; so please do speak to us if there are any difficulties in you being given this time as it is essential for you to have the full training. All services are being reminded of the importance of these days to your training.


Problem-based learning:

Problem-based learning (PBL) is consistent with the adult learning model that we seek to promote. Working on problems collaboratively in a small group environment draws on a range of skills and abilities that are often unfamiliar to students. PBL has been used extensively in many areas of higher education since the 1970s, and research has found it to have a number of educational advantages.

Broadly speaking PBL is characterised by the use of problem scenarios, often based around clinical material. This provides a context to learn problem-solving skills, and in doing so, acquire knowledge. PBL will be used by the EEBP programme largely for the work-base directed learning days, when students will work within small groups in their service setting/geographical area.

PBL is characterised by the following:

  • It uses stimulus material (in this instance clinical cases or referrals for psychological input) to engage students in considering the problem in the same context as ‘real life’
  • Information is not given on how to tackle the problem
  • Information is given to help clarify the problem and how it might be dealt with
  • Students work co-operatively in small groups with access to a member of staff who facilitates the process
  • Learning that has occurred is summarised and integrated into the students’ existing knowledge and skills
  • Work is carried out intensively into one problem over a period of time


Within the curriculum, PBL will not be used to replace, but to complement and facilitate learning from the more traditional University teaching sessions. The clinical problems will cover a range of learning areas taken from the CYP IAOT area of work and with more general learning objectives, all relating to the core competencies needed for practice. They may be based around clinical casework or involve service issues. 

Students will be encouraged to nominate a chair and scribe for these meetings who will record actions to be taken by group members. Students will then work independently, contributing to the group’s goals of finding solutions to the problems raised within the clinical case. Students will be expected to draw on a wide range of resources, including for example their own past experience, the library, and the internet, in the completion of these tasks.


Developing and enhancing clinical competence through self-practice/self-reflection (SPSR):

A major focus of the programme is placed upon the development of competence across a range of brief, low intensity interventions. A major focus of your time within the university taught days, the work-base directed learning days and your study days is on your own practice and the rehearsal of the interventions presented during the programme. To help structure and formalise this component of the programme (in particular the work-base directed learning days) the Self-Practice/Self-Reflection (SP/SR) model of supervision (Bennett-Levy et al., 2001; Farrand et al., 2010) will be adopted.

This model of supervision requires you to initially undertake the brief, low Intensity interventions presented during the programme on yourself, and then reflect upon your use. Rather than provide areas for you to focus your reflections around for each intervention which can be unnecessarily limiting, you are encouraged to provide widespread reflections on anything that arises concerning your own self-practice.