Postgraduate Diploma in Global Development - Learning Outcomes

Educational aims

The postgraduate diploma focuses on the key theories, approaches, and issues shaping contemporary global development. It aims to provide you with learning that makes for a better understanding of the major development issues of our times and the capacity to engage with them more effectively, in whatever context you are working or wish to work. It will enable you to reflect critically on the theories behind currently dominant approaches to development and development initiatives, the kinds of policies needed to change conditions of social injustice, and the types of public and private action that can be taken. It will provide an opportunity to build the skills to understand and negotiate development challenges effectively, and thus work towards more socially and environmentally sustainable development.

Whilst serving as a standalone qualification, the Postgraduate Diploma in Global Development introduces ideas and develops skills that can be extended and enhanced in the MSc in Global Development.

Learning outcomes

This qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas.

Knowledge and understanding

When you complete your studies for this qualification, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the complex and contested meanings of global development
  • a set of key global development issues
  • a set of key concepts and theories to make sense of global development
  • the complex interrelationships between theory, research, policy and practice relevant to global development.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this qualification, you will have developed the following cognitive skills and have the ability to:

  • describe and critically discuss different understanding of global development
  • define, critically examine and apply a set of key concepts and theories to make sense of global development
  • select, interpret and evaluate different forms of evidence to understand key global development issues 
  • reflect on your standpoint and the standpoint of others with respect to global development debates

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this qualification, you will be able to:

  • independently plan, conduct and manage a sequence of work to meet agreed deadlines.
  • collaborate effectively to identify and address issues
  • develop audio and visual presentations
  • use and reflect on your own learning to achieve your personal and professional goals

Key skills

On completion of this qualification you will be able to:

  • work independently to develop and justify your own positions in global development debate
  • communicate effectively with academic, professional and lay audiences
  • make effective use of evidence
  • effectively use a range of media platforms including blogging and vlogging
  • effectively use data of various sorts (numerical, textual), from diverse sources (academic, policy, research, secondary material), and from different media (print, electronic, verbal) in a sophisticated and critical manner.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

There is a strong commitment to creating opportunities for students to network and connect through multiple means. Tutors will facilitate a range of shared learning activities, both synchronous and asynchronous, that build on your developing knowledge and help to develop work related skills. The strategy also aims to support the personal learning journey of individuals who have their own unique experiences of development. 

Principles governing the strategy demonstrate the following qualities:

  • student centred, inclusive, personalised and contextualised within the real world
  • articulation of experience put at the centre of the learning process
  • use of reflection and skills of synthesis as part of an integrative learning process
  • continuous formative feedback supported by peer engagement through, for example, blogging and group activities
  • help for you to find connections between topics
  • support for deep and transformative learning.
Within this framework tuition and assessment events will be the means by which you make the link between your experience, knowledge and understanding, and the teaching. These will include:
  • a programme of online synchronous tutorials
  • access to a moderated development forum
  • reflections on practice in relation to key concepts
  • report writing
  • case studies
  • collaborative work developing negotiating skills
  • personal development planning sessions (3 per student per module), focused on developing individual student’s skills and knowledge, developing strategies for continuing study and ensuring student engagement with the module materials (intended to help with motivation and retention and progression);

Practical and/or professional skills and attributes
When you have completed this diploma, you will be able to transfer and use relevant key skills in your workplace and daily life. Practical and/or professional skills as well as key skills are an integral part of all modules at all levels. They are developed as a consequence of module work throughout the programme and are also built into aspects of the assessment process.

The open nature of entry to the OU means that we emphasise reading and writing skills at OU level 1. At higher levels we make assumptions about your basic abilities in these areas, although feedback from your tutor on your writing skills continues to be important. As you work on higher-level modules, you will find that the materials from which you work become increasingly complex and diverse, and you will need more sophisticated skills of interpretation, selection, analysis and synthesis.

Information technology
These skills are introduced and used in a number of modules but form an important part of the compulsory modules. As such, a basic IT literacy is an outcome and requirement of the diploma programme.

Learning how to learn
Because OU students are studying at a distance, there is a strong emphasis on helping you to develop as an independent learner.

« Back to Postgraduate Diploma in Global Development description