Working with learning technologies may mean that you have come across CMALT (Certified Membership of ALT), which is a portfolio-based professional accreditation scheme, usually completed within three to six months of registration. CMALT enables people whose work involves learning technology to:
- have their experience and capabilities certified by peers
- demonstrate that they are taking a committed and serious approach to their professional development.
More and more employers are now making the accreditation an essential or desirable criteria for learning technologist job specifications, since it demonstrates an individual is committed and places importance on his or her development as a learning technologist. It’s important however to note that the accreditation is not limited to learning technologists as the current cohort of CMALT candidates includes school teachers, researchers, technical support and teaching staff, administrators, managers, trainers, students, Further Education practitioners, consultants and lecturers from across the UK and a growing number of countries worldwide. You can find the list of current CMALT holders here.
As the E-Learning Officer at SOAS, I viewed the accreditation as a way to enhance my career prospects as well as gaining recognition of the work I have completed over a number of years across a number of universities. I was fortunate being part of a unique partnership to complete my portfolio with a cohort of colleagues from the local Bloomsbury Colleges (learn more). The Bloomsbury cohort was set up to assist and guide colleagues through each section over the course of six months from the initial introduction session.
Plan and set deadlines
During the six months, I worked through each section and collated as many examples as possible to provide evidence in each area. I aimed to have a draft ready to discuss with colleagues during our monthly face-to-face meetings, which helped to provide me with a set of mini deadlines.
Tip: don’t rush to submit your portfolio otherwise the assessors will just ask you to resubmit if sections are unclear or incomplete. Give yourself time to understand what is required using the guidelines, then collate evidence, write the sections and check your work.
Originally, I started by writing each section individually and then searched for examples to provide evidence of my practices however I found this method time consuming and tedious. So I decided to locate all the various pieces of evidence first and then brainstorm how each of them would fit into each section, which I found made it much easier. One of the areas that I remember struggling with at times is the reflection part which we all often neglect in this busy working life, so it was quite rewarding to take a step back and reflect how your practices have had an impact on teaching and learning.
Tip: go through your emails or ask people to send you a message as evidence if required. Provide screenshots, links to webpages, photos, videos etc. Ensure whatever you upload has the sufficient access privileges, i.e. not password protected.
Google sites and Google Docs
Although the guidance stresses that you can submit your portfolio in a number of forms ranging from Word document to a website; I found a useful Google sites CMALT template. I decided to use Google sites to present my portfolio as it was easy to use and I could utilise Google Docs to upload my evidence.
Tip: don’t spend all your time making your portfolio look nice as the assessor’s main marking criteria is the content. Make sure the sections are clearly labelled and navigation between them is obvious.
I received my CMALT award on 5th August 2016; read my portfolio here.
CMALT registration remains valid for two years. After this point you will have to re-register if you wish to submit your portfolio. I have started collecting evidence in preparation for the validation of continuous professional development, which takes place three years after accreditation is awarded.
Tip: create a folder and save emails, screenshots etc so when you need to update your portfolio it will be much easier to draw upon the evidence contained here rather than having to search from scratch.