Executive Summary

The following is the executive summary from the Practitioner Guide to Dynamic Development
(Download the full Dynamic Development Practitioner Guide)

We would like researchers to actively engage with their personal and professional development. We suggest here that the current approach to researcher development inherently fosters passive engagement.

We have developed and present in this guide a new approach that we believe does inherently support active engagement with personal and professional development. We put the researcher at the heart of their own development; a dynamic individual, learning, developing, progressing in their research, their career and as an individual.

Uniquely, we propose the ‘teaching’ of a personal and professional development model such that researchers can grow their understanding of their own development autonomously and with the aim of life-long sustainability. As practitioners our role is to support and nurture that autonomy.

Our model has 6 key elements; dispositional awareness; situational awareness; external feedback; discovering and exploring; experience recording; and the new static and dynamic (SDD) theoretical conceptionalisation of ‘skills’ as combinations of static and dynamic components. And it is support for developing and managing the dynamic components that we particularly suggest is under developed in passive approaches to development.

The SDD element provides a new tool for the individual to explore their personal and professional development, pulling together their experiences and learning from the full six element model. The tool supports the researcher in observing, analysing, recognising and reflecting upon their personal and professional development and what is right for them.

The model works to build situational competencies for the individual. In building situational competencies we reject the ‘deficit’ model of common needs analysis professional development approaches taking a more positive and engaging approach. We look for researchers to understand, articulate and be proud of the situational competencies they already have and to look to build on those rather than approaching their development from a perspective of what is missing.

We provide the tools for them to consider the situational competencies they have and those they want to gain, in the context of what they want to achieve, across the wide range of employment opportunities open to them. In ‘teaching’ a development model we also support researchers in being aware and adaptable to employment change going in to the future. The world is not ‘static’. It is increasingly ‘dynamic’. What ‘employability’ means today will be different from tomorrow.

The Dynamic Development model is put forward as a better development model for our increasingly dynamic world compared with current approaches. In addition, in developing and presenting our ideas we challenge the current language of skills as consisting of commonly ill-defined  terms, none  of which  satisfactorily  encapsulate  meaning  or understanding  or  provide  an engaging  motivator  for  participation. And we offer alternatives.

In summary, we present Dynamic Development as an active approach to the personal and professional development of researchers, designed for an increasingly dynamic world, countering what we have characterised as our ‘passive’ current approaches. In doing so, we also hope this will encourage others to develop and present additional active approaches.