Reflective learnings and why it is important when doing professional development on e-learning for staff
At the project planning days last week for the Learnscope e-learning and WADET mobile technology Becky Sauders highlighted the importance of delivering effective PD to increase sustainable m-learning & e-learning uptake by uptaking. She especially touched on the importance of reflective learning; so this week I decided to try it with my workshop. There is so much for me to learn about reflective learning and how to use it effectively so it was a case of Becky giving me some guidance on how to do it and me giving it a go (and accepting it is part of my learning journey).
So we started the workshop with a Snowball Activity. Each participant was asked to write a question(s) on a piece of paper relating to the first workshop on:
- Anything you felt confused about
- Needed clarifyied
- Wanted more information on
- Can not see the relevance of how it connects to what you want to achieve
All questions were gathered together and participants were encouraged to answer the questions.
I was really impressed by the questions they asked and the solutions that were offered as a result of doing this activity.
This reflective learning activity highlighted to participants and me that they wanted more:
- “hands on” time to explore and use the PDAs
- Information on databases and why a database is needed for a PDA
- Ability to put files onto PDAs and to make the most of the visual aspects of the PDAs
- On “How to” transfer files from computer to PDA and from PDA to computer
- Information “How come what you want to have on the PDA, as a database, involves so much time and thought?”
- Time to clarify/decide on the design aspects of the database
- Paper based documents on how to sync PDA with computer – so I can remember how to do this
- Information about how to use wikis (I want to learn how to set up a website similar to what we are using so I can use for my students)
Their solutions to their questions were:
- Insufficient time allocated to fully gain skills required so group decided that they need to organise additional PD funded by their section – decided they want to meet once a week on a Thursday afternoon to gain more skills in PDAs, wikis etc (booked a PD session for Thursday 10 May, 3-5 pm)
- Also some participants highlighted the fact that they benefit more by one-on-one tuitions so need to investigate the possibility of a “help desk” type scenario
- “How to” documentation has already been organised – Frances in the process of creating – will be online and PDF format to download
- May need to make next workshop full day rather than half day to address issues with learning how to use the database and realise why it is needed. Also will apply for further funding.
For both myself and the participants this was extremely beneficial and their needs would not have been identified without it.
I have also organised for them to keep a reflective journal for the project.
An interesting comment that one of the participants made was that as lecturers most of us use reflective practise in our work. I have to say I agree with her but the whole process of formalising reflective learning makes you think more deeply about your thoughts and then makes you take action on those thoughts.
However on reflection, important to tell other facilitators who are involved in the project, and who did not attend what you are doing. Since I use a wiki for the project, and I put all the information about the workshop and its outcomes as soon as I have completed the workshop, and they have the wiki set up to notify them when changes are made they did not necessarily understand what I was doing, and the points raised by the participants. Oh well, all good, just part of my own personal learning journey.