In the last week I submitted my CILIP Chartership portfolio under the new guidelines. Obviously I don’t know the outcome yet but I thought I would share my experience of what it was like completing Chartership under the new guidelines with some hints and tips. This post will discuss:
Enrolling for Chartership
You enrol for Chartership on the CILIP Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). When I first enrolled, it was before the new guidelines came in so I sent off my paper form and payment as you did under the old rules. Once the new guidelines came in, I still had to enrol on the VLE which gave me access to formerly unseen and inaccessible areas of the VLE. This part was a bit confusing for me because I had received no notification that I had to enrol virtually a second time. There was also a password/code that I received that unlocked and gave me access to particular areas of the VLE. Once I had this sorted though, everything worked fine. I imagine anyone who enrols on the VLE will have a smoother experience than my transition.
Finding a mentor
I found this particularly challenging because so many people turned me down. I was close to asking for help from CILIP when somebody kindly stepped up to the task. I found my mentor using the spreadsheet that CILIP provide on the website. Before I started working through the spreadsheet I created criteria for myself, which I would recommend, e.g.
- Somebody external to my organisation
- I don’t mind long distance communication …
- … but would like them to be close enough for me to see every so often
I quickly had to abandon my criteria as all the people close to me were busy/had already taken on mentees, etc. I ended up with a mentor that I have never seen face-to-face but who was happy to talk over the phone and via email.
I colour coded my spreadsheet so that I could keep a track of who I had and hadn’t asked, what response I got, and graded them according to my preference. I started out contacting people one at a time but with people taking a week to reply and me receiving rejection after rejection, I opted to email multiple people en masse, which worked. So I would suggest that approach if you are struggling and it is taking a long time to find somebody.
Providing CILIP with your mentor details
Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB)
After enroling and finding a mentor, next on the list is to identify which skills you would like to develop. The PKSB is what you use to achieve this. There was some confusion for a while about whether we needed to submit the entire document in the portfolio with the areas we had decided to work on highlighted but it was confirmed that we just need to extract those skills we have chosen to develop and put them in the portfolio.
It is recommended that you choose between 6 and 10 areas to work on (I chose 7). I already had an idea of what I wanted to improve upon but worked through the PKSB to identify further areas. You rate yourself between 0 and 4 on your knowledge/experience of a skill. There is also a PKSB gap analysis, which I found very useful, where you rate your current score against your ideal score. The spreadsheet is coded to tell you how big the gap is between current ability and desired ability, helping to visualise the gaps in your knowledge and experience.
Once you have identified the areas that you would like to develop, it’s time to improve yourself and build up a body of evidence. This is the stage of Chartership that I and, I imagine, most people spend the majority of their time in. It is a good idea to look at each skill you have decided to develop and think of how you are going to gain more knowledge and experience. Also worth considering is that you are meeting the criteria. The three criterion are:
- Identified areas for improvement in their personal performance, undertaken activities to develop skills, applied these in practice, and reflected on the process and outcomes.
- Examined the organisational context of their service, evaluated service performance, shown the ability to implement or recommend improvement, and reflected on actual or desired outcomes.
- Enhanced their knowledge of the wider professional context and reflected on areas of current interest.
As I improved my knowledge and experience, I thought about whether I was developing my “personal performance”, whether I had considered what I was doing within my “organisational context” (i.e. whether what I had learnt could be applied to the workplace, how it might improve procedures) and how it had enhanced my knowledge of the “wider professional context”.
After every session I attended, or any article that I read, or a presentation that I did, I wrote up what it was that I had done. It is much easier to take half an hour to an hour to write up what you have done rather than leave it all to the end to do. It will be time consuming to do it all in one go and your memory of what happened won’t be as fresh.
Important, also, is to reflect as you go along. For each piece of evidence I provided, I (tried!) to be reflective and say what I had learnt from the experience. Don’t leave all of the reflection to the evaluative statement – it is only 1,000 words.
Recording your evidence
The options for recording your evidence have increased compared to when the portfolio was submitted in print. I have seen a friend’s electronic portfolio where they opted to upload documents of their evidence. I chose to write mine as journal entries on the portfolio (note, there is a difference between the VLE and the portfolio. See Navigating the VLE and portfolio).
Under the ‘content’ tab is a ‘journal’ tab where you write your journal entries. I wrote a journal entry for each piece of evidence and the advantages are that you can easily link through to a website (as long as it still exists when you get around to submitting) and you can attach further documents. For example, if I attended an IT course, I would write up in the journal entry what I had done and learned and attached the certificate that I received on completion of the course.
Navigating the VLE and portfolio
The ‘portfolio’ is an extension of the VLE. Within the VLE are lots of resources like the Chartership handbook, chat rooms, how to navigate the VLE and so on. There will be a link to the portfolio within the VLE, which, depending on which page you’re looking at, might appear on the left or the right. This will take you through to your personal portfolio area where you create your electronic portfolio. You can update your details, make friends with people, e.g. your mentor so that they can view your portfolio, add journal entries, upload files, and more.
Constructing your portfolio
There is already a video available on the VLE (and YouTube!) for how to construct your portfolio (my courses > professional registration > Chartership > assembling your portfolio), which is useful to watch.
The good thing about the electronic portfolio is that you decide how you want to present it. There is no enforced structure that you have to follow. As I already mentioned, I decided to present my evidence using the journal entry option rather than upload individual documents. Some advice on this:
I presented my evidence using the three criteria. I created a page each for the criteria and put my evidence within them depending on whether they were demonstrating my personal development, an improvement within my organisation, or my understanding of the wider information world. If you look at the image below you can see the the three criteria pages I created. Clicking on the link opens my page of evidence for that criterion.
To create those pages I made a ‘collection’. Under the portfolio tab is the button ‘collections’ (see below). I clicked ‘new collection’ and started adding my evidence in the form of journal entries to it.
To add that collection to my portfolio, I clicked ‘edit content’ and then under ‘general’ dragged the box that that says ‘navigation: display a collection of pages in a simple navigation list’ into the page.
Note – if you take this approach you will need to share your collections as well as your portfolio on submission otherwise the assessors won’t be able to see them. This goes for any additional pages you have embedded into your portfolio page. More on sharing and submitting below.
Submitting your portfolio
There are three steps to submitting your portfolio.
- you need to share it with the assessors so that they can view it. Again, the above video shows you how to do this.
- you need to submit your portfolio back in the VLE (my courses > professional registration > Chartership > submitting your application). You quite simply choose the correct page and click ‘submit’.
- you need to pay your fee. The Submission Payment Form is accessible on the page that you use to submit your portfolio.
I have no experience of the old guidelines for Chartership so it is difficult for me to compare but I felt that Chartership under the new guidelines was a reasonably straight forward process. There were a few teething problems and it took a while for things to get off the ground as content was added to the VLE and the handbook was created but that didn’t impact on my ability to collect evidence, to understand the criteria, or how to present the portfolio.
I found emailing the CILIP member services very helpful and they were able to clarify anything that I was unsure about. My mentor was also great, offering guidance and advice. It is important to play around with the VLE and portfolio to familiarise yourself with its content. If you’re having trouble, just ask someone for help.
I was afraid of Chartership before I started out because of what people had said about the process but learnt otherwise. I hope this post encourages you to believe that it is not scary or difficult.