After a review including a wide consultation with the SEDA community, in October 2014 SEDA revised the wording of the values it adopted at its foundation. They are the values of SEDA and the table below gives some illustrations of what they might mean in practice to SEDA members, who are committed to them. We also commend them to the wider audience of all those working in post-compulsory education.

SEDA is a values-driven organisation, committed to educational development, and underpinned by the following values:
SEDA ValueEvidence/guidance/illustrations for staff and educational developers
1. Developing understanding of how people learn Varying our teaching approaches, acknowledging that people learn in different ways;
Recognising that learning takes place in different contexts and through different media;
Sharing and engaging practices with others through conferences, events, the Professional Development Framework, Fellowships and membership;
Acknowledging the diversity of individual experience and disciplines;
Seeking out practice on which to draw;
Developing the individual for the benefit of the student learning experience.
2. Practising in ways that are scholarly, professional and ethical• Using evidence-informed approaches, the outcomes from research and reflection in and on practice to inform our work;
• Drawing on alternative perspectives, theories, models, research and scholarship;
• Questioning and challenging our practice;
• Acknowledging that the need to engage with theory underpins all our practice;
• Questioning our own practices and looking for ways to develop further;
• Evaluating practice elsewhere and comparing/contrasting our own practices;
• Developing and using practices that show respect and concern for others.
3. Working with and developing learning communities• Working with colleagues, peers, developers and supporters of learning to share ideas, practice, reflections and theory;
• Facilitating networking opportunities through conferences and other events;
• Developing thematic Special Interest Groups and other online communities;
• Working with our membership to inform and develop knowledge;
• Working, engaging and disseminating beyond the traditional establishment with global, diverse learning communities.
4. Valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity• Identifying and seeking to meet the many and varied learning needs of the learners with whom we work;
• Celebrating difference and working to redress disadvantage;
• Using technology to widen representation in SEDA;
• Increasing access to SEDA events and publications and recognising the needs of varied, under-represented groups;
• Strengthening the ways in which SEDA programmes illustrate the SEDA values.
5. Continually reflecting on practice to develop ourselves, others and processes• Improving our practice in the light of our reflections on it and in it;
• Reviewing our development and our practice, and the relations between them.
• Ensuring that processes and practices are developmental and supportive;
• Supporting and encouraging change-making processes which are contextually sensitive and owned;
• Developing valuable and appropriate courses and practices which reflect the needs of the participant group and the wider context;
• Enhancing the professional identity of ourselves and others, within and beyond our professional networks.

What do we mean by the SEDA values?

These SEDA values are not an attempt to prescribe what we think or believe or feel. But they are intended to inform our actions, whether as a teacher, a supporter of learning, or an educational developer. They are sometimes about what we do; sometimes about why and how we do it; sometimes about what our actions are intended to achieve.

So, the SEDA values are a guide for action. They are also a basis for monitoring and evaluating our actions and our achievements, as individual professionals and as an organisation.

The SEDA values do not claim to be an exhaustive list of the values which should underpin our practice; although SEDA has embraced these values, with minor changes, for over twenty years. As appropriate we should add our own, whether personal, professional or institutional. And we should be explicit about these additional values, so that we, and those with whom we work, can test the values and test what we do in relation to them.

In the sections below we offer some ideas to help explore what these values might mean, and how they may inform your work. The ideas are illustrative, not prescriptive. We understand that we all need to interpret these values for our own particular learners and educational settings.

There is, as we should expect, some overlap among the values.

1. Developing understanding of how people learn

Learning is a complex and challenging business. It takes place in many different ways and contexts. Many factors encourage or inhibit learning. These factors vary from learner to learner, depending upon, among other things, purpose and both disciplinary and institutional environment.

This value encourages us to think through why we do things, and to study, research, develop and apply understandings of how people learn; to the benefit of our work and of those with whom we work.

2. Practising in ways that are scholarly, professional and ethical

Scholarship, professionalism and ethical practice are closely linked, and they must all drive our work.

The idea of scholarship broadens out from the consideration in Value 1 of how people learn. Scholarship encourages learners and developers to adopt an informed, critical and analytic approach across their practice. By drawing on alternative perspectives, theories, models, policies and research, scholarship involves us in questioning and challenging our practice. We use existing scholarly knowledge – critically, of course. We add to our and others’ scholarly knowledge. And we encourage a scholarly approach in those with whom we work.

Ethical practice above all means recognising the different power relationships inherent in our various roles and relationships; perhaps being explicit about them rather than denying or ignoring them, and certainly not misusing them. It also means adhering to any other ethical guidelines required by another discipline or profession, if we have one.

Professionalism includes scholarship and ethical practice. In addition, it involves establishing and maintaining clear agreements, contracts or frameworks with those whose learning is to be supported. It also encourages us to commit to the continuing improvement of our own practice and to share that in our professional communities.

3. Working with and developing learning communities

We work with, and indeed in, many kinds of learning communities. For example:

  • A group of learners, meeting in a class or a virtual environment, can be a community in which learners support each others’ learning, giving each other feedback and encouragement and appropriate practical or academic help.
  • Colleagues, peers, developers and supporters of learning can form a learning community, sharing ideas, practice, reflections and theory, and learning about the business of development and the support of learning.Groups related to our other discipline or profession, if we have one.
  • It is sometimes appropriate for a developer or a supporter of learning to work with an individual, but most effective educational change at some stage will involve working with groups, teams, or communities.

4. Valuing diversity and promoting inclusivity

In our learning support and development practice, it is important to identify and seek to meet the many and varied learning needs of the learners with whom we work. All groups of learners, and supporters of learning, are diverse. We seek to ensure that each learner has, as far as is possible, the same or appropriate equivalent opportunity to learn, develop and succeed. Diversity is not just something that we must accommodate, it is a rich source of varied experiences and views that we should value and use for the benefit of all. In doing so, we can create opportunities for us, our colleagues or our learners to learn from and, where appropriate, to learn about, each other.

Promoting inclusivity means that in the context in which we work we will positively create or support opportunities for those who might otherwise be excluded, to be able to join learning contexts and then to participate fully in them.

5. Continually reflecting on practice to develop ourselves, others and processes

As professionals, we continue to learn and to develop our professional expertise. Perhaps the most powerful tool for supporting our development is our continuing scholarly, deep, analytic reflection on our practice.

‘Reflection’ can sound rather mysterious. But it can be undertaken as a technique, and elaborated over time. Questions to prompt reflection might include, before a development or teaching event or process,

  • What am I trying to achieve?
  • What do those with whom I am working, and those who have sponsored the development, want to achieve?
  • How will I know how successful I, and those with whom I am working, have been?

During the event or process,

  • How is it going?
  • What, if any, changes should I make now?

After the event or process,

  • How did it go?
  • How far did the development achieve what I intended it to achieve?
  • How far did those with whom I am working achieve what they wanted to achieve?
  • How do I know this?
  • Why did what I did have the effects that it did?
  • What unintended things happened?
  • What could or should I do differently next time?

These last 7 questions can be repeated after a series of events. Then, after going round these cycles a few times, we can ask further questions, about the value of the questions themselves and how we can become better at reflecting.

Reflecting is essential but not sufficient. We also need action; a testing and implementation of what we have learned in our practice; so that we can learn and then improve from the continued interaction between action and reflection, each informing the other.

Through reflection, scholarship and working with our learning communities we can develop not only ourselves and our colleagues but also the formal and informal processes we may use at different levels, personal, collective, institutional and even national and international.

Concluding comment on the SEDA values

In our learning support and development practice, we are concerned with the development of ourselves, our learners, the institutions and communities we work in and the educational processes with which we work.

Value 5 suggests that we develop ourselves by a cycle of continuing reflection. We also develop ourselves through the conventional forms of staff development including reading, conversation, workshops, conferences, working with our professional associations and undertaking development projects. This is enhanced by capturing what we have learned from these activities and by exploring how we can test and apply what we have learned.

We aid the development of those whose learning we support by helping each of them to do similar things. We help them to reflect on their learning and their experiences, and to apply and test their learning and their practical experience against each other, accepting that the nature of both learning and practical experience may differ greatly according to their context.

The SEDA values are not just about individual or local action. As opportunities arise, they prompt us to contribute to the formation of professional, institutional or national policies, and to create new or improved approaches and practices to improve the experience of learners of all kinds in post-compulsory education everywhere.