Leadership in learning development: who & how?


  • Carina Buckley Southampton Solent University




Learning Development (LD) as a profession is predicated upon the values of collaboration and partnership, sharing practice and critical self-reflection. Working within this ethos, it can be difficult to recognise ourselves as leaders – particularly when the idea of leadership is often tied to line management, and promotion often results in movement out of learning development altogether. How, then, do we recognise leadership in learning development, much less embrace it for ourselves?

This presentation outlined findings, derived from interviews with 20 self-selecting members of the LD community, about conceptions and perceptions of leadership in LD. It examined what leadership looks like and who can be a leader by exploring learning developers’ conceptions of professional identity and networking, and confidence in those areas. The aim was to show delegates that the role of a leader has much in common with the values of LD, making it open to anybody with a purpose, a goal, and values. In so doing I posited that this is connected to the theme of wellbeing, as, if we feel recognised and valued for our work, then we are likely to be happier. I hoped to demonstrate that all learning developers have the capacity to be recognised and valued for their leadership.

Author Biography

Carina Buckley, Southampton Solent University

Carina Buckley is currently Instructional Design Manager at Solent University, responsible for the ongoing development of the VLE as a student-centred, active and inclusive learning space. Her research interests broadly connect to collaboration and community, and have evolved recently to explore ideas around leadership and professional identity, particularly within Learning Development. She is an advocate for the power of writing and collaboration, and co-hosts The Learning Development Project podcast with Alicja Syska. She serves as the Treasurer for ALDinHE and also sits on the steering group for the International Consortium of Academic Language and Learning Developers (ICALLD). Following a PhD in Archaeology in 2006, she has since added Advance HE Principal Fellow and Certified Leading Practitioner in Learning Development to her post-nominals.


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How to Cite

Buckley, C. (2022) “Leadership in learning development: who & how? ”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (25). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi25.965.

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