e-learning staff development programme: interim Report (09-10)

Introduction

The aim of this report is to inform to the Head of e-Learning, the e-Learning Team, the LTEO and the wider community at the University of Bath, if the e-learning staff development programme (central provision of workshops and events) is achieving its broad aims.

This is an interim report on the completion of Semester 1 (09-10).

The need for an appropriate and effective e-learning staff development programme is driven by the objectives in the new Learning and Teaching Strategy. The LT Strategy requires the development of the appropriate and effective e-Learning development and support programme for staff and students. This maps across to the broad aims of the e-Learning Team;

Helping staff to integrate e-Learning into their programmes
Sharing innovation and good practice
Developing an e-Learning community
Promoting the evaluating e-Learning
Developing e-Learning Tools

To help achieve these aims we run a number of central staff development events (PGCAPP Unit 6, workshops, seminars, blended courses and coffee breaks) throughout the academic year (see http://www.bath.ac.uk/learningandteaching/themes/e-learning/)

In terms of our broad aims we need to identify if our staff development programme achieves the broad aims of the developing staff capacity in e-learning? Therefore, does it share innovation and good practice across the community? Has our programme had a positive (measurable) impact on staff practice? This report attempts to answer these questions for Semester 1, 2009/10

Background

The following are the descriptive statistics for the e-learning staff development programme (Semester 1, 2009/10). It is evident we have run a large number of events over the period 9 events ran, and 22 were cancelled. In total, 77 participants attended our centrally provided events.

Table 1: Event by type

Semester 1 (ran/cancelled)

Workshop 3/7
Seminar 3/6
Blended course 1/3
Coffee breaks 0/5
Elpf 0/1
External Event 1/0
Moodle Advisory Group 1/0

Table 2: Events by broad focus (all sessions cancelled or not)

Semester 1 (moodle / non moodle)

Workshop 8/2
Seminar 1/8
Blended course 0/4
Coffee breaks 0/5
Elpf 0/1
External Event 0/1
Moodle Advisory Group 1/0

Table 3: Total attendance (average per session which ran)

Semester 1

Workshop 8 (2.6)
Seminar 13 (6.5)
Blended course 2 (2)
Coffee breaks n/a
Elpf n/a
External Event 45 (45)
Moodle Advisory Group 9 (9)

Analysis

The first question is, does our staff development programme build capacity in the individual who attends our sessions and have they applied it within their teaching?

A survey was run (24th Nov, 2009 to 24th Dec, 2009) for staff who attended one of our events in the Semester 2. The time delay was to give participants a number of months after the event so they can apply the knowledge and skills gained from the e-learning event before evaluating impact.

The response rate was very low, 4 out of 64 !!! So, take the following discussion with a very large pinch of salt.

The survey included questions to inform us about longer term impacts. For instance, to what extent do you agree with the statement, “I have applied the knowledge and skills which I developed during the workshop in my teaching and/or work”. The responses indicated one strongly agreed, 1 agreed, 2 were neutral and 1 disagreed. When asked to explain why, the extracts indicated a positive impact and implies effective embedding within their practice.

“I have applied the ARS in my teaching, and this received a lot of success from students”

“it was already in place before the session, so the impact was just reinforcement”

In terms of exploring people views of the quality and worth of the session I asked two questions. Firstly, would they recommend an e-learning workshop to a colleague? Secondly, has attending the workshop motivated you to attend more events by the e-Learning Team? The responses indicated all 4 (100%) would recommend it to a colleague, and 3 people said the experience would motivate them to attending another session.

The final question focussed on identifying if people engaged in our support materials after attending the event. The assumption being if they followed up the session by accessing more resources and assistance this would indicate an increase in staff capacity, and sharing good practice. The responses suggest a number people (at least 3) engaged with the following resources over the last three months.

  • Accessed e-learning pages on LTEO web site: 3
  • Visited one of our supporting blogs, such as Moodle blog, ARS, SMS or QR Code: 2
  • Emailed e-learning@bath for assistance: 3
  • Read an e-learning case study from the LTEO web site: 0
  • Accessed a How to Guide: 2
  • Visited the staff area in Moodle: 3

Recommendations & where next

Some clear messages are evident, firstly, we cancelled more sessions than we ran. Attendance was very low, and the more innovative approaches (coffee breaks, and blended courses) have tended to fail (in terms of most being cancelled). The one-off event was a success in terms of high numbers (although I’ve not been able to identify UoB attendees).

An action which I’ve not followed up from the previous report is to audit how the workshops, and events are integrating clear exit points for attendees, ie., push to how to guides, and case studies.

The very low response rates to the survey means we need to triangulate the approach via the use of focus groups. This should more effectively answer the questions about the impact of our staff development model.

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