Professional Development for Sustaining the ‘Pivot’: The impact of the Learning Design and Course Creation Workshop on Six Belarusian HEIs

Olney, Tom and Piashkun, Siarhei (2021). Professional Development for Sustaining the ‘Pivot’: The impact of the Learning Design and Course Creation Workshop on Six Belarusian HEIs. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2021(1), article no. 10.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/jime.639

Abstract

Throughout 2020, and into 2021, national governments were forced at different times to impose ‘lockdown’ on traditional approaches to education to cope with the impact of COVID-19. Higher education institutions (HEI) with face-to-face models scrambled to ‘pivot’ to distance and online learning. Whilst originally conceived as a temporary measure, the longevity of the virus has raised significant questions about the sustainability of these approaches and revealed a need for teacher professional development (TPD) activity to support teachers in designing learning based on robust distance and online education frameworks. One example of such teacher professional development is the Learning Design and Course Creation (LDCC) Workshop from The Open University UK. Prior to the pandemic, in September 2018, this workshop was attended by staff from six Belarusian HEIs involved in a project titled Enhancement of Lifelong Learning in Belarus (BELL). The 18-month longitudinal study presented here used the Academic Professional Development Effectiveness Framework as a structure to evaluate the impact of this activity on the participants’ practice, and the five courses they were tasked with creating. The findings suggest that on the whole the team-based, reflective and experiential TPD pedagogy employed by the LDCC Workshop was effective in preparing the BELL Project participants for designing and creating their online and blended learning courses and this approach should be utilised effectively to support other HEIs that plan to enhance their distance capacity, either due to COVID-19, or for other reasons.

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