Professional learning (PL) in schools – what is the way forward? The blog post from Libby (see below) initially got me thinking and together with further conversations with Dr Leigh Martin (Singapore American School), Tara Barton (ServeLearn) and my friend QQ further challenged my thoughts about the design of learning within my workshops. I concluded that for the sustainability of my business ….. Old ways won’t open new doors.
To re-define my ways, so I can find these ‘new doors’, and since March of this year I have undergone a range of different learning opportunities as well as facilitated learning for others. With each new opportunity, I have learned what works and what does not. I have always carefully planned learning engagements and communications. Simultaneously organising them in a way that the learning not only met the needs of the participants but also made sure that they were able to ‘take-away’ practical applications/ideas/next steps for their future work. I easily drew upon a bank of teaching and communication strategies for the Face2Face environment. Now, as I rethink my old ways, to find these new doors, I feel that I am starting all over again (in learning how to teach) while I consider the WORKSHOP/COURSE DESIGN as well as the EFFECTIVENESS OF STRATEGIES in online learning environments.
The questions that propel me forward while knowing that more experiences and more time helps are;
- How am I making sure that all of my participants can have practical take-aways and meet their professional learning needs?
- Am I able to do what I have always done in an online environment and be as effective as I was in my F2F business?
So far, I have learned that an online professional learning workshop must contain;
- Bespoke learning design
- Synchronous discussion opportunities
- Carefully constructed learning engagements that are simple yet stretch participant thinking
- A Four week time-frame with a time requirement of up to 3 or 4 hours per week
- Be affordable so schools/participants and add value to their work
As I continue to explore my thinking on finding new doors and learning new ways to work in an online environment, I continue to be amazed by young entrepreneurs such as Libby Millar (https://www.libbation.com/) and Tom Kendell (https://schoolserve.com/). Libby has redefined how she lives and works, sought opportunities to apply her education and is harnessing new opportunities in a digital age. Tom has taken his learning about how international schools would connect with suppliers at various exhibitions and fairs around the world, used technology and created Schoolserve as a destination for suppliers and international schools to deal directly with each other to save time and money. For Suppliers there is now no need to spend a lot of money on travel/accommodation and conference fees to display your wares, but use a digital platform, where you can not only show what you can do/produce, you can also tender for work. Schools have a huge advantage in not just identifying suppliers but also use a tender process to find the best fit/value for money supplier, and even better, can join Schoolserve for free.
Libby is so right …. Old ways won’t open new doors within our new reality that pandemics will shape our lives for time to come.
(Title credit: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/old-ways-wont-open-new-doors-fay-grana/ (2018) and also used as a quote by Libby Millar: https://www.libbation.com/post/give-up-defining-yourself)