Susan’s Design Narrative – On-line Dementia Awareness Course
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25 March 2013
I decided to design an on-line version of a traditionally face-to-face course, so that it would be more convenient to undertake, fill a gap in the market, widen the participant catchment and cut costs.
Dementia Awareness is a topic of growing interest, both for professional health and social care workers and for informal and family carers. Existing courses required classroom attendance that many could not access, due to conflicting carer responsibilities, lack of time or distance from learning centres. Costs were also prohibitive for many in classroom-based delivery methods. I decided to look at alternative delivery methods and thought on-line distance learning would be both convenient and accessible for learners.
I hoped to develop an alternative delivery method for an established course. I also hoped to make it more accessible and flexible in approach.
- Cost out the course, based on e-learning method
- Set up and build Moodle site with course information and resources.
- Link Moodle to e-portfolio site
- Publicise course
- Register learners and provide remote log-in details for Moodle and e-portfolio
All went well up to point 5, when I discovered part-time students are not routinely given college IT learner accounts, so I had to request these individually from IT. This issue was easily overcome but it was one I had not realised existed.
The course is proving popular, especially as a top-up for other qualifications or as an introduction prior to further learning. As a result I am now developing on-line versions of other established courses based on the same delivery model.
The process of building the on-line course was a very positive experience for me and I have learned a lot more about the functionality of Moodle, as well as encouraging a paper-free approach to learning. However, I had assumed that other staff would be as enthusiastic about on-line learning as I am, and even though they agreed it was a good idea, they were initially reluctant to promote it as an alternative learning method. Despite additional and individual tuition in IT, Moodle and e-portfolio skills, a minority of staff remain reluctant. I am faced with the dilemma of deploying either push or pull strategies to achieve their buy-in. Despite the advent of the on-line course being a partly altruistic gesture to enable wider learning and participation, it remains a product to be sold, so if the pull does not work a gentle push may be required.