Monday, December 5, 2011

Wins and hurdles - the ups and downs of providing professional development in eLearning

E-learning short coursesImage by London College of Fashion short courses via Flickr
Jacqui Kelly, Judy Schrape, & Kuki Singh highlighted a few of the most effective things that they do as part of PD at Curtin. The main PD is around a weekly programme over 8 weeks, and on top of this there is a module on eLearning, which are further complemented by a range of online resources. Regular eNewsletters are sent once a month to advertise the PD and what it offers.

The PD covers How to use the various tools. The satisfaction rates are quite high. The workshop feedback included comments around "What did you like best about our PD?" Jacqui showed a couple of videos where staff talked about the sessions. The first one was around having a nice safe closed space to experiment, and the second was that she liked the hands on aspect of the sessions where you work through a handout, and the two trainers in the room meant you could get help at any time. Also the follow up was important and knowing who to contact.

Attendance rates have been quite high over the last 3 years. The interesting thing is that more and more professional and development staff have been attending the training rather than only academics. Quite a few staff come to more than one session.

English: Diagram of technology-empowered profe...Image via Wikipedia

Hurdles: key thing they need to work out is how to contact more staff - emails often end up under 'delete'. The mixed groups have their own challenges, and staff are no remunderated for attending the eLearning training. A lot of staff book on to sessions, but only about 3/4 of staff who sign up actually attend. There was also a fear of using the technology, and this can create ongoing issues espscially if the technology then doesn't work, or what seemed simple in the workshop appears difficult afterwards. Time again was a big issue.

The workshops were activity driven, consistend, appropriately scheduled, and reflected the teaching styles of the various facilitators. Feedback has been pretty positive, and also included some helpful suggestions for improvement" "Perhaps you could do a needs assessment of participants before we get there to pitch it at the right level".

Elluminate is used for staff who are not based on the main campus, and they have found that participating in webinar sessions in this way gives them a lot of ideas around how to use the environment with students.

The conclusion is that the programme has been successful because it is constantly adapting.

The interesting thing here is the focus on the practical skills - I wonder how the skills were then interconnected with pedagogically sound design. Liked the notion of the immersion envrionment in the Elluminate experience.
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