Learning - supporting informal development
This section tells the story about how one institution – the University of Edinburgh – went about supporting professional development and informal learning in public engagement. It also draws on the experiences of other beacons and universities who have tackled this area. It starts with an overview of successful approaches to supporting informal development.
Edinburgh's approach to informal development
Providing opportunities to both share learning about public engagement, and to practice skills, is an effective way to support informal development.
A varied internal events programme can work well, with introductory sessions for people new to public engagement, focussed events on a particular aspect of PE for people with more experience, and networking events involving external organisations. Find out more about the event formats that have worked well for The University of Edinburgh, and the Edinburgh Beltane Beacon in their case study about informal development.
A mentor scheme, or similar, which allows people to receive individual guidance, support and advice can also be helpful.
Other approaches to informal development
The University of East Anglia ran a Postgraduate Research Showcase in Norwich to encourage early career researchers to explore the potential of public engagement.
UEA’s Centre for Staff & Educational Development trained the researchers on presentation and communications skills and poster design for a public audience, leading to a poster exhibition showcasing the research in the Forum centre in Norwich. The general public talked to the researchers about their research and its real world applications, and voted for their favourite poster.
Find out how the University of Edinburgh tackled these other key areas: