Learning and teaching.


At ION, we recognise that students have their own learning styles and our courses are carefully designed to utilise a wide variety of academic and practical teaching tools including: group work, role play, clinic work, audio, video, interactive modules, workshops, fieldwork, seminars, guided discussions, presentations, and personal and group tutorials.

Both campus and distance learning students should allocate approximately 15-20 hours a week to cover guided reading and viewing, researching and writing assignments, preparing for workshops or forum activities, and for consultations (clinical training pathway only). In addition, all students will be required to maintain a reflective journal and personal development portfolio throughout their course.

Personal tutoring, guided discussions (in class and online) and regular contact with module coordinators and level leaders via email, phone and video sessions will ensure that you get all the guidance and support you need; both academic and pastoral.


Tailored to you

Our tutors and lecturers have many years of experience and recognise that students have their own learning styles. Our courses are carefully designed to utilise a wide variety of academic and practical learning tools to support your progress.

Our learning and teaching approaches include:

  1. Focused group tasks
  2. Focused individual tasks
  3. Guided pre-and post- reading
  4. Individual tutorials
  5. Interactive online formative tests
  6. Keynote lectures
  7. Online forums
  8. Small group projects
  9. Small group tutorials
  10. Student-led presentations
  11. Video and audio media
  12. Webinars
  13. Workshops
  14. Peer-to-peer learning 

Student support

At ION, we also understand the importance of effective student support, whether it be academic or pastoral. We offer a range of academic and non-academic support to our students, ensuring that you get the most out of your time with us.

Whether you attend classes or study with us online, you will be able to take advantage of sector leading developments in online learning. You will have 24/7 access to our virtual campus, which provides a wide range of resources, video and audio materials, access to a full-text scientific database, student chat rooms, tutoring forums and more, enabling you to study when and where suits you. If you enrol onto courses validated by the University of Portsmouth, you will also have access to the university’s physical and digital libraries as well as their Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

As part of our commitment to maximising your learning experience, we have embedded study skills within the curriculum of our courses. You will have access to our study skills hub, high-quality repositories of open educational resources, and in-house materials covering core academic skills including writing, referencing, evaluation, critical and reflective thinking, and academic integrity. Students enrolled on courses validated by the University of Portsmouth will have additional access to the university’s libraries and learning support resources.


Whatever your study mode, we’re here to help

In addition, throughout your studies you will:

  • Be provided with learning support by tutors via email, webinars, telephone and in one-to-one, and by group tutorials
  • Be guaranteed high quality support as a result of audits undertaken by level leaders throughout the year
  • Be advised of core learning strategies from tutors to maximise your learning
  • Have any non-academic issues smoothly resolved by the Courses Administration department
  • Get specific academic support when undertaking assignments by module coordinators
  • Have access to the Academic Development and Wellbeing Leader for additional support regarding core academic skills 

Real world learning, prepared for practice

Whilst academic knowledge is essential for all nutrition and healthcare professionals, understanding how that knowledge is applied in the real world to support real people with real issues is essential.

Developing strong clinical skills, as well as the confidence to work successfully with the general public and other practitioners, is critical for those wishing to enter the profession.

At ION, we will help you develop your clinical practice skills, initially through role-play and case scenarios, and ultimately through our Optimum Nutrition training clinic, where you will work directly with real clients, fully supported and individually supervised by our dedicated team of training clinic supervisors, who are experienced practitioners in their own right. They will be there to guide and advise you, helping you to develop your therapeutic practice skills to manage the therapeutic relationship.

During your time in clinic, you will:

  • Observe client consultations led by tutors or visiting practitioners
  • Review and discuss anonymous clinic cases, resolutions and outcomes
  • Lead your own client consultations supervised by training clinic supervisor
  • Undertake regular supervision sessions with your training clinic supervisor
  • Gain a full understanding of the daily workings of a clinical setting

Learning aids and activities:

  1. Aide memoires
  2. Case dilemmas
  3. Case presentations
  4. Client consultations
  5. In-clinic one-to-one supervision
  6. In-clinic small group supervision
  7. Observation of professional practitioners
  8. Observation of student practitioners
  9. Reflective exercises
  10. Role-play with peers
  11. Video consultations 

Continual improvement

Feedback is important to us and we continually look to improve what we do. You will have direct communication with our Dean via your virtual campus RelION. Student-elected representatives meet with the faculty and academic support services at biannual Student Voice committees. In addition, every student has a personal tutor and access to planned group tutorials. 


Assessment is through essays, exams, research critiques, business plans, reflective narratives, case studies, clinical role-play and consultations with paying clients.

Your module coordinators will prepare you to succeed by providing clear, written and video-presented assessment criteria. In some modules you will co-create these criteria. Exemplars are used for exercises, discussion forums and formative exercises.


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