Raistrick, Andrew and Bentley, Steve (2016) Flipping heck! Be careful what you wish for. In: ALT-C 2016: Connect, Collaborate, Create, 6-8 September 2016, University of Warwick. (Unpublished)

Prompted by a new Digital Literacy initiative and a change in resourcing, we critically examined the University of Huddersfield’s central programme of staff development courses in Learning Technology. We considered whether the existing portfolio of courses was meeting the requirements of staff and what improvements could be made.
Previously, these courses were principally delivered by two members of central staff. Following a decision by University management to reallocate one of these colleagues to other projects, the seven School-based Learning Technology Advisors (LTAs) were tasked with contributing to the design and delivery of these courses. This change in personnel was a catalyst to evaluate whether the content and format was still appropriate in the light of Digital Literacy requirements and whether changes could be made to enable and encourage more staff to avail themselves of training.

Evaluation questionnaires indicated that the existing portfolio of courses was generally well received by those staff who attended, but a survey of the wider staff indicated that time was a significant barrier to staff attending training. We therefore redesigned the courses on a “pick n mix” basis, splitting them into one hour sessions with a more specific focus, in the hope that staff would be able to fit these into their schedules more readily. Sessions were arranged over lunchtimes and at the start and end of the working day to gauge whether staff would be more willing to attend at these times.

We used the flipped classroom model to introduce the pedagogy and basic concepts through short screencast and Videoscribe videos which participants are required to watch in advance of the session. This also means that participants come to the session with a similar level of knowledge, and with a clear expectation of what the session will cover.

A modest increase in the number of staff attending the redesigned courses has been observed, and course evaluation forms have been more positive than previously, so we intend to continue to develop this model However there are implications for the trainers. More frequent delivery of shorter sessions (which leaves less time for a discursive element) can result in a less engaging and more fatiguing experience for the trainer.

In this session, we will share some of the successes and challenges of our approach, and reflect on the implications of this style of delivery for the trainer. We will also consider ways of engaging those staff who (wrongly) feel that they don’t require training, strategies to market the courses more effectively, and the issues around assessing staff training requirements.

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