Our Health Symposium with PebblePad


First of all, we would like to thank all of our speakers and delegates for enlightening us all to the multitude of ways Pebble Pad can be used in managing Continued Professional Development (CPD). We really enjoyed meeting with you all, networking and hearing the many stories of Pebble Pad use in the healthcare setting. Hearing from a variety of healthcare disciplines about how Pebble Pad can be adapted for purpose was really useful!

We were warmly welcomed by Debbie Holmes from Pebble Learning, fresh and eager to learn! Debbie set the scene for the day and gave us the run down for the day and how Pebble Pad can be set up for use. We were all relieved to hear that anything a Pebble Pad user uploads remains completely private and secure, even from the institution who provides it for use!

Theme of the day, from Undergraduate to qualified health professional:

- Undergraduate healthcare students

- Newly qualified every day practice

- Individual (Personal) CPD

Tim Smale & Mike Gibbs from Keele University arrived to explain the project they had been working on. ePAD: the way to go! The idea of nested work books for learning was inspiring. Collating large assessment books and converting them to a digital format was extremely challenging for them! But this should in future reduce the time it takes to complete assessments, make the data more secure and easy to use and access. It is currently working well at Keele University, although ongoing investments into training will be required.

See their full presentation here 


Jacqueline Davis from Kettering general Hospital kindly came to speak with us about the evidencing of Band 7 competencies with Pebble Pad. Jaqueline has developed online workbooks in pebble pad to assess these competencies using prebuilt templates and online ‘collections’, which allow a single piece of evidence to be used for multiple competancies. These collections automatically group information for easy reference She explained the ease of this, (even though she admitted to being a little technophobic).

Jaqueline explained that she had experienced issues with paper copies going missing and saw that Pebble Pad was the solution to this, protecting information. She had also had a positive response from staff using it. She expressed her frustration that the Nursing and Midwifery Council have yet to accept digital portfolios, yet was confident that it would soon be on their agenda.

The audience had their questions:

Question: Can a nurse take it with them if they leave?
Answer: Yes they own it and can pay for their own Pebble Pad.

Question: How do you keep a copy for your records?
Answer: The same as Keele - we take snapshots via ATLAS, which we keep. 

Fiona Powling and Libby Browne from the University of York took the stage to kindly speak about the lessons and challenges of implementing an Electronic Portfolio to a BSc (Hons) Nursing Programme. In Oct 2013 all 600 students 2500 Mentors and 65 support staff went online with their electronic portfolio at York University. Support and training for this is still ongoing and there has been some resistance from mentors and students in places. These e-portfolios allow for assessing the point at which a task has been completed, highlighting when mentors and students are allowing last minute completion. This enables the team to provide extra support when needed. 

It was refreshing to hear a student talking about her experiences of using Pebble Pad. She was clearly an advocate for its ease of use. She explained how it was clear and simple to use, and also neat and tidy if she needed to present it at interview. Her closing comments were: you've got to embrace technology to move forward. (The room agreed)!

Richard Windle from the University of Nottingham kindly spoke to us about Elective placements for student nurses. From the school of health sciences, 6000 students, 200 academics, 100 admin were using Pebble Pad in some form as the university moved to a paperless system. As they have a student centred learning approach, 50% of their nursing programme is online. Their elective workbook also includes emergency contact details, flight details, copies of their important documents - e.g. passports and insurance details for students wanting to travel far and wide. The students are encouraged to be innovative in their evidencing, with photos and journals, voice recordings and reflections.

The lessons learnt from the University of Nottingham were:

-  Training

- Staff Development

- Scaffolding - provide it

- Support

- Inspire

-  Embedding

- Feedback

- Adaptable

Andrew Kirke from Sheffield Hallam University then spoke to us all about the 3 P’s: Paramedics and PebblePad. Paramedics had engaged with Pebble Pad on a small scale initially, with a cohort of 20 students. As the use of Pebble Pad has grown within this university, Andrew exclaimed, "God bless the nested workbook" and has said he would like the ability to work offline in the future. Paramedics are mobile practitioners, and Andrew had explained how easy Pebble Pad can be, working on the go. The App for Pebble Pad should hopefully be ready by September with basic functions then will be improved. Its usage continues to grow. 

Gwyn Owen from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy then took the stage to talk about the ePortfolio as a case of constructive alignment. Physiotherapists began to use Pebble Pad in 2008. By 2011, they had completed the 1st cycle of audit, increased CPD awareness and formulated a single sign on for the system. 36% of physiotherapists had accounts, and of those, 70% were active. They have seen a steady increase in active users, with changes in use over seasons. The audience had questions:

Question: How do you support your distance users?

Answer: Students are supported by academic members - these then become our main members.  There are champions in most areas and we will go out and deliver training.  We have also been working on other materials for training.

Question: HPCP still don't accept portfolios in this form - are the CSP pushing them to?
Answer: Yes and the HPCP are looking into the process.

Question: Can the students CSP and HEI accounts be merged?
Answer: It is coming.Trevor Dolan from altstrat then gave his final summary and ‘Top Tips’ for managing CPD through PebblePad. Key points included:

- Making CPD a part of 'Who we are' and nurture a culture of continued learning, even in the environments that don't have the stick to continue learning.

- A portfolio needs to be about the learning not the completion of the portfolio

- The need for buy in from people at an operational level.  

- The need to have the right systems in place and talking to each other.

- The need to support staff to reduce IT worries and fears.

- Access to IT resources need to be improved - but there is always a way! 

We ended the day with group tasks, discussion and more networking. It was interesting to see how the varying healthcare disciplines and educational institutions and also how Blackboard and Pebble Pad Integration can work for a student friendly interface. Transportability and inclusivity themes were discussed, but overall, the room was clearly in favour of moving forward in digitalizing CPD through Pebble Pad. Outside of the healthcare sector, we could also see Pebble Pad being of use in areas such as sport, business, photography and creative arts. Overall it was a wonderful day with many key healthcare teams working and talking together, showing a mutual interest in Pebble Pad and in moving the services forward in terms of maximizing the outcomes of and managing CPD in practise.

Thank you to all of our delegates and speakers for your valuable contributions during the day. We hope to see you sometime again in the not too distant future!

Posted on December 27, 2012 .