Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Learning design in action

Back in August 2014 we employed our first set of apprentices to work in Elephant Learning Designs and to learn on the newly created Level 3 Diploma in Digital Learning Design qualification.

It’s been an exciting two months for me and others in helping get the workplace and resources ready for the learners arrival.  Everything about this has been new.  In addition to my role as a Learning Support Technologist I now manage and develop the learners and the programme, assess and lead on internal verifying.

All learners are now settled in and are progressing really well in their employment and are learning and developing learning materials for teaching staff.  Learners have just commenced the first unit of their course work which has been well received.  All learners are demonstrating unique skills and knowledge.  This is proving to be a successful and diverse team where everyone has different skill sets in different areas that contribute to the development of others.

How is the programme run?
We have decided to run this programme as an apprenticeship which offers real workplace skills and knowledge of creating highly engaging and purposeful interactive learning materials.  The apprenticeship is a year but learners can do another year and progress onto the Level 4 Diploma in Digital Learning Design.  Discussions of potential ideas will take place in the New Year of who and what is being done for the Level 4 programme.

What are the learners doing?
All learners are starting and/or midway through some projects for teachers while others are finishing off internal department projects.  These projects entail creating interactive learning materials on a range of subjects and topics, Moodle graphic/user interface designs and informative poster designs.  But there are plans to extend this work into larger projects and deeper engagement once Elephant Learning Designs is fully promoted internally.  Plus, there is a view to open Elephant Learning Designs to external businesses too.

What happens next?
Currently we are aiming to create eLearning experiences that are visually dynamic but have the impact that should be expected.  Thus, providing the underpinning understanding of what eLearning actually is and not just a ‘fun factor’.  This is research that myself (through my masters) and a colleague are currently investigating, then we will guide our learners to this outcome.  It builds on from my previous views on Flipped Instruction? and A little deeper with eLearning.

Learners will soon be planning and developing their own pathway into what they want to do with their newly gained skills and knowledge.  So I will be providing support they need to ensure they reach their goals.

It’s been a whirlwind of positive experiences for me and I’m sure it has for our learners.  But one of the most unique elements about this is that everything is new.  So by absorbing and reflecting through this newness, we are creating our own standards and expectations and these will flow into the qualification specification and possibly beyond into future curriculum development.