A fresh approach to staff development
What is blended learning?
Blended learning is today’s learning! It’s about using various combinations of current technology, media sources and traditional classroom training facilitation to their best. This means using face to face training where we feel it is appropriate but also providing online, digital learning for certain aspects of development, or even using a combination of workshops with digital formats such as e-learning modules, videos, social media, digital apps and webinars.
Why are we introducing this?
By adopting a blended learning approach for identified aspects of staff training across the organisation, we are looking to increase flexibility, effectiveness and efficiency of development opportunities. It will allow us to meet the needs of all types of learners across the University regardless of their working patterns, types of roles or location, at times that suit them which maintain quality, diverse, flexible and efficient development solutions.
How are we introducing blended learning?
Students at the University have been using Moodle for many years now to support their studies and undertake aspects of their course programme. L&OD have now created a Staff Training Moodle site to begin to introduce digital, online learning modules which staff will be able to undertake at their own pace, wherever they can access the internet and at times which suit their workloads or personal needs.
We are working to carefully select and identify topics/development activities which we feel can be appropriately translated to this style of learning. We will continue to provide our traditional classroom workshops in many areas but some topics may become online Moodle modules and others may be a combination of the available formats. As staff become more familiar with using Moodle, we will widen our selection of topics available and we also plan to incorporate other digital learning activities to support learning such as interactive webinars and chat forums.
We plan to introduce our first online Moodle modules in March – May 2019, starting with our new recruitment and selection training in early March to accompany the launch of the Stonefish Resourcing system, with more information available by clicking this link and also updated online Diversity in the Workplace training (externally provided by Marshall ACM) which will support a new workshop Celebrating Diversity, Promoting Inclusion as part of mandatory Induction for new staff. We will keep you updated as our new blended learning opportunities are launched and as part of this initiative we are engaging with Development Champions, staff volunteers from across the organisation who have a passion for development and will help us to share the new opportunities and support colleagues to get used to this new style of development activity.
What is Moodle?
Moodle is a virtual learning environment (VLE) designed to provide access to a system which can create personalised learning experiences for organisations. Worldwide Moodle has over 90 Million users (including our academic staff and students) and is web based so can be accessed from anywhere in the world, on different web browsers and devices. Moodle will allow us to create bespoke training for our staff at Kent, utilising different media sources, documents and presentations, as well as test learning outcomes by use of quizzes, assignments and other interactive activities. Moodle allows for creation of short one off modules or longer, more intensive programmes of study which combine with other development activities to provide a comprehensive learning experience.
L&OD will be able to monitor enrollments, progress and completions for each participant on each module and management information will integrated into Staff Connect to enable easy reporting.
What does the future look like?
Over the next year, L&OD will gradually introduce elements of blended and digital learning to our offer. Initially this will include online Moodle or externally provided courses, in combination with classroom workshops. The online courses will be supported by regular drop-in sessions where you can take some time to focus on undertaking any of the courses available, whilst having an L&OD Adviser available to support you in using the Moodle platform and in due course we will introduce live interactive webinars to provide support and instigate discussion based learning for identified topics. For bite size ‘on-demand’ topics we will begin to create resources which will be hosted on our L&OD website which will not require enrollment but can be viewed as and when necessary.
If you are interested in becoming a Development Champion to support this exciting new step for staff development activities and get involved with testing new courses in design stage please complete our registration survey by clicking here.
If you have any further questions about the introduction of blended learning, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
Ali Whelan – L&OD Adviser