The course is based upon a self managed learning approach, and is designed around the need initially for participants to assess their interpersonal, management and procurement knowledge, skills and competences. Participants will be provided with opportunities to develop knowledge and skills through workshops as the basis for developing the Strategic Learning Contract (SLC). Workshops may include: Emotional Intelligence, Management and Procurement competency frameworks, Strategic Management, Leadership, Strategic Procurement. Agreement on and commitment to the SLC will be facilitated through the Action Learning sets at key stages in the first semester. Individual or small group (3-5) tuition will be provided in particular for the Literature Review and Business Project to provide focused advice and guidance
The Induction programme will include:
• opportunities for participants to meet course team members and fellow participants both in sessions designed to deepen their understanding of the course and also socially;
• orientation sessions to ensure participants are familiar with the location of key facilities, can access library resources, IT and email services and distance learning materials;
• study skills: sourcing and recording information; effective writing; referencing; plagiarism;
• explanation of the principles of SML, the Strategic Learning Contract and its implications for participants and their organisation, establishing and obtaining buy-in to critical ground rules;
• team-based exercises to provide a context for constructive co-operation between participants but also to assist with social interaction and group cohesion.
Participants may be allocated to Action Learning Sets on the basis of: sector, type of organisation, location, outcomes of psychometric testing and profiling, and observation of interaction during Induction.
There are 4 modules: the Strategic Learning Contract, Literature Research, Business Project and Self-review and Evaluation. These are outlined below:
Strategic Learning Contract (45 credit points)
The Strategic Learning Contract has five key stages:
• Where have I been? A review of past learning, experience, work-related activity. The focus here will be on establishing trends and patterns in behaviour
• Where am I now? Each candidate should be able to analyse their current position, how they arrived, where they are now, the career pathway they have taken, what has led them there and the impact it has had on them in positive and negative terms.
• Where do I want to get to? This part of the contract is about determining their personal future direction, setting objectives, recognising what they need to change to move forward, and establish what unlearning and relearning is required.
• How will I get there? Candidates will set out their own personal development plan and determine the basis and scope of the business project which is a tool designed to assist them in their personal and professional development, including developing their strengths and taking forwards new ideas, new approaches, and testing out new behaviours. The plan must be designed to fulfil the strategic learning contract, with clear milestones aimed at meeting personal needs and generic assessment outcomes, including development of own personal curriculum, literature research objectives, literature resources identified
• How will I know I have arrived? Determine plan for self-reflection and measurement and control of the outcomes.
Literature Research (15 credit points)
The area of literature to be researched will be determined by the strategic learning contract. Skills of evaluation of the rigour and validity of published research in the area will be developed, and its relevance to the development and outcomes defined by the business project will be assessed through a detailed critique.
Literature research instruments and methods of enquiry will be applied to the critical examination and appraisal of the professional and academic body of knowledge as defined by the boundaries of the business project, drawing on advice from your academic facilitator, employer mentor and Action Learning Set colleagues.
Business Project (45 credit points)
The business project is originally determined as part of the Strategic Learning Contract, and will relate to the personal objectives of each candidate. The aim of the business report is for the candidates to demonstrate the business/commercial benefits of their actions and be able to demonstrate a successful contribution to the organisation’s strategic intent.
In doing so, candidates should demonstrate how they are using their own personal analysis from the Strategic Learning Contract to improve their personal and professional performance, utilising enhanced and informed thinking, new methodologies, different behaviours, resulting from some of the ‘unlearning’ relating to behaviour patterns and business practices, highlighted in their personal analysis.
The business project should have a clear scope and direction and contribute partially or holistically to a significant purchasing and supply management activity within the organisation.
Self-review and Evaluation (15 credit points)
This reflects the final stages of fulfillment of the Strategic Learning Contract, and thus the scope of this self-reflection should already be determined. Candidates should undertake a detailed self-reflection, reflecting the learning journey that they have undertaken since commencing the learning programme. This review should consider the following:
• Achievement of goals and key milestones.
• How ambitions have developed and evolved.
• Reflection of their experience of Action Learning Sets and the contributions they have made to the learning process and personal and professional development experience.
• Level of un-learning and re-learning experienced throughout the learning process.
• Next steps in the personal and professional development process.
All modules will be supported by Tutorials and Independent Study, which will include: accessing distance learning materials; sourcing other materials; reading, taking notes and maintaining effective records; diary entries; activities related to Action Learning Sets and workshops; writing drafts and submissions for assessment.
Individual candidates will be assigned an Academic Facilitator who will act as their academic guide, supervisor and assist them in the development of their learning process. Each candidate will have a nominated mentor either linked to the candidate’s place of work, or in a similar field of work and experienced in purchasing and supply management. Action Learning Sets will provide a forum for advice, guidance and encouragement both formally and informally.
A range of workshops will be provided, some in conjunction with participants taking the course in other approved Universities, on topics reflecting the particular expertise of staff and a range of providers. Seminars will assist participants to develop skills in relevant research methods and the critical evaluation of literature.